You are here:
  1. Inicio
  2. Collections
  3. Ethnology
  4. Pelt


Pulse para ampliar

Dated: pre-1869

Cultural Context: Great Plains style.

Origin: North America

Medium: Leather, Dye

Technique: Cut, Tanned, Painted, Stitched

Dimensions: Length = 180 cm; Width = 150 cm

Inventory no.: MAM 16372

Complete pelt, possibly from a deer. It is decorated with geometric designs depicting crosses, seemingly vegetal elements and arrows. In the centre is a circle resembling a sun.

Animal skins were used by the tribes of the Great Plains for a variety of purposes, including clothing and as coverings for tipis. This particular pelt belongs to the “box and border” type, characterised by a geometric decoration that symbolically reflects the internal organs of a bison. This type was made and used exclusively by women, while those with figurative themes - depicting warlike feats or buffalo hunts, among others - were decorated and used by men.

The women were in charge of dismembering the animal. Once the skin was removed, it was pulled taut and stretched out in the sun using stakes, with the hair side downwards. Bone or metal scrapers were used to remove any remaining flesh; once this operation was finished, the skin was turned over and affixed to a wooden frame, where the hair removal work continued until a raw hide was obtained.

To create a supple, soft leather, the skin would be tanned by coating it in a mixture of offal and egg white and then saturating it with herb-infused water. The skin was folded at the corners and tied up into a bundle, then stretched out in the sun to dry. Finally, it was softened by vigorously rubbing its surface with a hard stone and impregnating it with white chalk.