Martingale (Horse Ornament)

Crow, Montana


Martingale (Horse Ornament), ca. 1885

  • On View

Deerskin, canvas, glass beads, and brass bells

Dimensions: 39 5/8 × 16 1/2 in. (100.6 × 41.9 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pohrt, 1985.102

The introduction of glass seed beads by 18th-century European traders made it possible for the Crow people to expand their artistic repertoire. The beads were easy to work with and eventually replaced traditional rawhide painting and quillwork. Colors were symbolic to the Crow, so the designs of this martingale are not only sophisticated, but also laden with meaning. Blue represented the sky. Green was the color of the earth. Yellow was the color of the east, the place of the rising sun.

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