Beaded Kiowa Objects, ca. 1870
My great-grandfather was managing and in charge of a trading post in the Fort Sills area, 1874 through 1877, about. And then they were given to him as gifts while he was there during that period. And then they've been passed down through the family.
And in the little letter you have there, it discusses two or three of the Indian tribes that might be there?
Well, in the Fort Sills area during that time, the Kiowa, the Comanche and the Apache were some of the tribes that were still around in that area, and they came in.
What you do indeed have here is a group of objects from the Kiowa people. Kiowa material is extremely rare, particularly from this period. They're known for their particular sense of color and their color palette. And if we look at the objects at the top here, the object in the middle is called a strike-a-light, and the use of the two different blues and particularly that purple signifies it's Kiowa. If this was a Sioux strike-a-light, it would have a nominal value. These particular objects are extremely desirable. On each side of these, we have awl cases that would have held a woman's awl and would have been held on a belt. The object closest to you is actually a whetstone case that carried a whetstone for sharpening a knife. The moccasins at the bottom are as fine as I've seen for Kiowa moccasins. They have this wonderful, long, trailing fringe with ochre rubbed into them. When these were all worn on a belt, these tin cones that dangle down from the bottom of these-- they're also known as dangles-- when the women moved, it made this fantastically beautiful sound like music. (jangling faintly) If this was a Sioux strike-a-light, it would have a value of about $1,500. The fact that it's Kiowa and it's in the condition it's in and it's from the right period, the 1870s, that strike-a-light is worth between $7,500 and $10,000. The whole belt outfit is worth between $14,000 and $16,000. The moccasins, if they were Sioux or another tribe from the same period, they might be $1,000, $2,000. Those moccasins are worth between $15,000 and $20,000.
It is a remarkable group of Kiowa material.
Well, this is for my mom. She passed away recently and she would have been standing here.
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