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Walla Walla dress
ca. 1860–1880
Deer hide, glass beads, cowrie shells, sinew
135 x 145 cm
Collected by F. M. Covert

This Walla Walla dress is a striking example of what is referred to as the deer-tail dress. Worn by eastern Plateau and northern Plains women, it is made from two large deerskins, generally with the neck, legs, and tail left intact. The hind parts of these skins were folded over and sewn together along the fold to form a straight shoulder line. The deers’ hindquarters then form an undulating yoke with the tail in the center of the front and back. Plateau women beaded the yoke in wide bands of pony beads creating bold patterns in basic colors, as seen here. This dress is also embellished with cowrie shells.

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