Cheyenne Cradleboard, ca. 1880
Have you had this in your family long?
I think since the late 1800s, early 1900s. My great-uncle was in the army and traveled around a lot.
You know where he got it?
I think off a reservation, because it's... it looks like it's been used.
But I don't know.
It was made by the Cheyenne, probably the southern Cheyenne, and that probably would have been when they were in Oklahoma. The Cheyenne made beautiful cradles, they're considered absolutely classic, fully-beaded cradles. They were the ones that used the cradle boards, as opposed to the Lakota, who didn't use boards. They would have made a soft cradle. I magnified the inside, and it's on buffalo hide and then mounted on canvas, which is very typical of the early reservation period. This would have been made probably in about 1880 to '85. The design's a very classic Cheyenne. They have a box-and-border design here. These are stylized thunderbirds, which are very desirable, on each side of the box-and-border. I particularly like the little hawk bells hanging around the opening. Of course, the only problem with the cradle is its shape-- it's kind of misshapen. Because the leather on this cradle is not stiff, and the market knows that it can be reshaped, so the value is $40,000 to $60,000, as is. If the hide was stiff, it would be a different matter.
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