Sioux beaded war shirt expected to bring $25,000 at auction

A stunning Sioux beaded war shirt is expected to be one of the highlights in an auction of American Indian Art on October 5 in Ohio.

Sioux Beaded and Quilled War Shirt
Each war shirt is decorated with symbols to reflect the wearer's achievements

The beaded and quilled shirt would have been worn by a warrior of the Sioux tribe, which were perhaps the most famous and largest of all the Native American groups. War shirts such as the one at auction were worn into battle, with its decoration and colours symbolising the past achievements of the wearer.

The example at auction is thread-sewn, with red, green, purple and yellow quillwork strips decorating the sleeves, shoulders and bib area. With lines of beadwork surrounding the quilled area, horsehair hangs from the sleeves as further decoration.

An impressive example from the late 19th century, the shirt will sell with a $20,000-25,000 estimate. A similar Sioux quilled war shirt sold for $50,000 at Bonhams in December 2011.  

In July 2012, the war shirt of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, which is considered one of the most important Native American artefacts, sold for $877,500.

The auction's top lot is expected to be an important western mono basket, which has long been used as an exemplary illustration of central California basketry. Created circa 1890, the basket has featured in Otis Tufton Mason's Aborginal Indian Basketry, publishing in 1902, as well as George Wharton James' Indian Basketry, published in 1909. It is expected to bring $30,000-40,000.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering an authentic strand of the Apache leader Geronimo's hair for Native American collectors.  


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