Plains Indian Courting Flute, ca. 1870
Your grandfather owned this?
That's correct. He... I inherited it from him. Uh, he passed away before I was able to find out where he received it.
Uh-huh, so it's been in the family quite a while.
Yes, my mother remembers it when she was a child, seeing it in the house.
Well, it's a Plains Indian courting flute. Warriors used to stand outside the tepee and court their sweethearts with this. This is a particularly beautiful one. The Plains people, they didn't make a lot of sculpture. They were on the move all the time. They made pipe bowls and a few things. And I've studied these pretty extensively, and it appears to be a loon as the flute block, which is very evocative of the sound of the flute, and you can kind of romanticize what it would have sounded like out in the plains. This is a very beautiful, very early flute. The ties are buffalo hide. There's traces of red ocher, both in the buffalo hide ties and on the loon itself. It probably dates to the mid-19th century, which is quite early for something like this. Have you got any idea what its value might be?
I have no clue.
Uh-huh, well, they're fairly rare. I know I sold one years ago to the Boston Fine Arts Museum, and I thought that was a beauty, and I have to say, I think this one's even nicer than that one. So I think I'd put an estimate of about $6,000 to $8,000 on it.
Wow. That's fantastic.
It's quite a great piece.
Yeah, I'll feel real glad giving it to my children.
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