Man' Quilled Leggings
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Plains Indian (Mandan), Man's Quilled Leggings

Plains Indian (Mandan), Man's Quilled Leggings


The style of leg coverings for the early 1800’s was tight-fitting with excess hide at the bottom, usually dragging on the ground. The brown stripes are coup bars, honor marks showing war exploits. The attached porcupine quill-wrapped hair ties are earned through bravery. It was believed that hair had power which it gave to its wearer. The black hair could be from enemy scalps but, among the Lakota, would more likely be donated locks from the wearer's tribe members to transfer power from one person to another.

The buckskin leggings were usually worn when the weather was cold. Paintings by Catlin and Bodmer in the 1830’s illustrate warriors wearing leggings in the summer, probably because they displayed their war honors. The buckskins have ties in order to connect them to a narrow leather belt. A breechcloth of deer hide could be worn for modesty. It went over the g-string, between the legs and then over the back string. In the early 1800’s, the breechcloth does not seem to have been worn. The pictographic robe in this exhibition portrays warriors with no clothing. The paintings do show legs of the men—and also the horses—painted black, but this is for artistic effect.


Plains Indian (Mandan), Man's Quilled Leggings


Artifacts by Sioux Replications / All images © Franz Brown

Artifacts Group 1 / Group 2 / Group 3

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