Porcupine Tail Hair Brush
Artifacts Group 1 / Group 2 / Group 3

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Plains Indian (Mandan) Porcupine Tail Hair Brush
 

Plains Indian (Mandan) Porcupine Tail Hair Brush

Mandan

The porcupine tail brush was the common tool for combing long hair. The porcupine has quills over most of its body, but not on the underside of the tail. The top portion of the tail with hundreds of sharp quills was removed. The tail was then sewn over a stick and the seam covered with pony beads.

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At the time of Lewis and Clark’s trip, glass beads from Italy were being introduced through Canadian trade. The Corps of Discovery brought beads along to distribute as part of their diplomacy. Glass beads were expensive so were used sparingly. White and blue beads were the most common colors and were initially the large size. Gradually beads replaced the use of porcupine quills.

Plains Indian (Mandan) Porcupine Tail Hair Brush

 

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