Cradleboard

Kiowa, Oklahoma

American

Cradleboard, ca. 1880

  • Not On View

Deerskin, canvas, glass beads, cotton, red wool cloth, walnut boards and German silver conchos

Dimensions: 10 1/4 × 43 3/16 × 11 7/8 in. (26 × 109.7 × 30.2 cm)

Museum purchase from the Chandler/Pohrt Collection, 1985.28

The broad surfaces of the cradle cover provided an ideal surface for beadwork. The Kiowa created highly individualized and imaginative designs in a multitude of colors. On this example, the beadworker has established a contrast between the stylized floral motifs on one side with the checkered pattern on the opposite side. Recent scholarship has related the beaded designs on certain baby carriers as belonging to specific families. The Kiowa showed great respect and appreciation for these cradleboards once described as “a house for the beginning of life.”

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