Native American Blackfeet shirt will auction on May 6

An important Blackfeet chief's shirt and leggings will headline an auction of Native American artefacts at Skinner.

The lot is valued at $600,000-800,000 ahead of the May 6 sale in Boston.

Blackfeet chief suit
The suit appears to have had two important owners

It was acquired by Captain Reymond Hervey de Montmorency, probably while on an expedition to the Lake Huron region.

It dates to the 1830s and has weathered the years very well. The shirt is of particular interest as it displays figures engaged in battle and appears to represent a war record.

The auction house's Douglas Deihl explains: "While not entirely unique, we have found in North American collections only one other Blackfeet suit from about the same period, and with a similar combination of features, especially the painted figures of war exploits…

"All the figures on the front side were made by one artist; and all those on the back of the shirt…were added by a different artist.

"This suggests that the shirt had two Blackfeet owners, each of whom possessed a distinguished war record."

Other lots in the sale include a circa 1850 plains Apache woman's dress and moccasins, which is expected to make $80,000-120,000.

It displays a high level of craftsmanship, utilising materials like horsehair, leather and tin to spectacular effect.

We have this strand of legendary Apache chief Geronimo's hair for sale.

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