This is the inner rawhide support of a shield collected in Oklahoma in the 1890's by Edward B. Corse. While the original catalog states, "UNDOUBTEDLY USED IN SUN DANCE RITUALS," the ceremonial use of this shield/shield is unconfirmed. The warped rawhide circle is covered with painted buckskin. There is a wire handle through the back. A red woven wool strip with an attached eagle feather hangs in part from the edge.
Research performed by Carolyn McArthur, CHS curator of Material Culture, indicates that this shield and shield cover were probably made by Lame Bull (c.1841-1901). The shield is rawhide and the cover is made of brain-tanned leather painted with natural pigments including yellow ochre; red trade cloth, leather thongs, and 58 eagle feathers are also applied.
McArthur wrote the following exhibit text in 2002: The design on the shield cover came to Lame Bull in a dream or vision. The central motif shows a horned turtle with feathers attached to each of its legs. The turtle is partially encircled by (clockwise) a green, horned butterfly, a fork-tailed swallow, a horned lizard, and a black, horned butterfuly. Each of these creatures holds symbolic imporantance in Cheyenne cosmology -- the philosophy dealing with the origin, processes, and structure of the universe. In the eyes of the Cheyenne, Lame Bull was the sole owner of designs that he received through dreams and visions. Only he held the special rights to duplicate, renew, sell, or give the designs away. He also had the authority to describe a dream or vision to an accomplished artist in his community who would, in turn, translate the design onto an object in Lame Bull's behalf. (see Bib Tab for McArthur's sources).