Cedar Flute with Horse Effigy
Artifacts Group 1 / Group 2 / Group 3

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Plains Indian (Winnebago of Fox) Cedar Flute with Horse Effigy
 

Plains Indian (Winnebago of Fox) Cedar Flute with Horse Effigy

This flute has six finger holes, but some tribes such as the Lakota had five. A bottom hole is sometimes added to improve the tone. An item to note on this artifact is the cutout design of the lead inlay at the end of the flute and the metal piece covering the air holes. Metal was very expensive and was used as a prized object. The stylized horse effigy is a movable block to affect the sound of the instrument.

Winnebago or Fox

A courting flute, played properly by a suitor, was considered to have great power to "touch the heart" of women. Among many of the Plains tribes, the flute was made by a medicine man because they had the power to make the playing of the flute effective. The typical fee was one horse. Young men would play the flute in the evening in the vicinity of the girlís tipi. Eventually the woman would fall in love with the suitor. If the music was not effective, no refund was given because the medicine man would say, "You didnít play the flute EXACTLY as I taught you to play it."

The courting flute was made from hollowed out cedar and enclosed with intestine to seal air leaks.

#16

Plains Indian (Winnebago of Fox) Cedar Flute with Horse Effigy
Courting flute with bone whistle. The whistle points to the horse effigy, which is a slide that controls the tone.

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Artifacts by Sioux Replications / All images © Franz Brown


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