To be a "Shirt Wearer" the warrior earned this right through acts of bravery, usualy in war. The shirt helped the warrior in battle, often posessing significant spirtual power.
Many shirts were painted, some of the older shirts were decorated with quillwork and in the latter part of the 18th century, the shirts became decorated with beadwork.
The following Plains Indian War Shirts are for sale:
This fantastic war shirt is a brain tanned replica the shirt worn by "Medicine Crow." He was the last wartime - war chief of the Crow Nation. Medicine Crow wore this shirt to Washington D.C. When he was just a young man in his twenties, he was credited with 22 different acts of bravery and was named war chief. This is a fully beaded war shirt and you won't find one nicer! The beadwork is spectacular and this shirt is made out of elk hide and it's brand new. Take a look at the pictures; Wow. The sleeves measure about 25" from the shoulder line to the cuff. It measures about 24" wide in the mid section and 33" long from the neck to the bottom of the fringe. And yes, boy is it fringed and the fringe is twisted. This is a brain tanned hide painted with crow pink, blue and green beads. The cool thing is that the top green portion was painted by hand using a natural earth pigment created from a "grass and alphalfa mixture." There are six ermine strips on the sleeves and the beaded strips on the shoulder measure 32" x 3" wide. The beaded strips on the sleeve measures 23" x 4"wide and these are size 13 beades. The chest piece measures 6" x 7" and it's bordered with red trade cloth. This shirt comes with a Matching set of leggings that measure about 38" long and they are braintanned and fringed too. The upper opening is 14" wide and the beaded panel measures abut 30" X 3 1/2" Did I mention the fringe is twisted? Wow. $6,800 On hold May/2015
This is a nice soft brain tanned war shirt with exploit designs painted the old way with red ochre and "tatood" into the hide with a stick. The upper shoulder area is heavily stained in red ochre (from the Cheyanne River). This is truely a "war shirt", made for horse back travel and fighting. Size is medium. Levi BlacWolf is 5'11 and slender. It measures from the neck to bottom 29 inches. It measures 23 inches wide at the belly section and 30 inches from the sleeve to the middle of the neck area. No holes or defects. Brain tanned fringe. It doesn't appear to have been worn very much. SOLD
Item #: WS23 Striking Black Foot War Shirt (below)
This war shirt is to 'die for.' Blackfoot style as evidenced by the feathers. (Look at any of the Howard Terping Prints) This shirt was made 15 years ago has been heavily stained in red and green ochre paint. It's a size large measuring 19 inches wide at the mid section, 30 inches from mid neck to cuff ends and 35 inches long. It is adorned with 30 black horse tails wrapped with red trade cloth. Two old time (1920's) fully beaded strips which measure 3 inches wide by 24 inches long. This one comes with a fantastic old time shell beaded loop necklace.
Item # WS419
Well done Arapaho braintanned War Shirt & Leggings (Optional)
This shirt has been used but all the beads are in tact. I would say it is a large to big medium. It measures 31" from the middle of the neck area to end of sleeve and 23" wide in the mid section and 28" from lower neck to the bottom midsection. The beaded panels measure two inches wide by 31" long. Sleeves are adorned with brass beads. Made the old way with original deer leggings left on. Red trade cloth around the neck and the back also has a fringed neck flap indicitive of a true Plains Indian style war shirt. This shirt is adored with new quilled human hair scalp locks with painted pipes on the front. These pipes represent the amount of successful horse raids the warrior has led. The bottom portion is painted with eight coup indicators which the warrior was successful with. Price: $1,447
There is also an optional matching pair of leggings(used but not soiled) made out of the same brain tanned deer hide which measure 30 inches long. These beaded panels are 3 " wide by 21" long. Price: $475
Back Flap stained in red ochre.
LEGGINGS - - LEGGINGS
Blackfeet War Shirt (below)
Take a look at this striking war shirt. Painted with green and red ochre and beaded with old time seed beads. No defects and no beads missing. This shirt has been worn and used but it's not soiled. The shoulders are decorated with horse tail scalps tied with red cloth, feathers and ermine tails. (Traditional Blackfeet) This shirt is located on a res. in Montana. The neck flap is decorated with human hair locks. The front and back neck area is decorated with badger claws and there is a pictograph of a badger on the back which was painted the old way with a stick and hide glue. The fringe is decorated with old time glass beads. The beadwork is exceptional, panels measure; 2' x 30" long. Levi BlackWolf, who is wearing this shirt is 5'11 inches tall.
Price: SOLD to Europe.
Item JA107 Another nice War Shirt below which I would consider to be a size large. It measures about five feet from cuff to cuff when layed flat out on the floor and 32" from the top of the collar to the bottom of the shirt. It measures a whopping 25" wide in the mid section which is good enough for any belly? It is loosly stitched with brain tanned ties just like the old original shirts were. Heavily fringed and all leather is braintanned. Nice and soft. Old time blue paint was rubbed onto the upper section. Nice old time trade cloth collar and the beaded panals are size ten blue and white and red beads while the beaded bib is beaded in old time size 8 blue and white beads. This shirt is adorned with several new quilled human hair scalp locks. The bottom section and the back of the shirt have been painted with Mandan warriors. Nice! This is a used and well worn shirt. It was worn during a few battles with the Calvary at a Buffalo Days re-enactment in South Dakota. The outside blue area was 'roughed up' to look older. SOLD
WAR shirt none the less; It's a fact that during the war against the white man that the Native Americans sought after European goods and clothes. In this case perhaps, one of the Sioux warriors took this off a Corporal from the 7th Calvary? It was common for them to take it back and "Indianize" it. This calvary war shirt is a small to medium size measuring about 23" from shoulder line to shoulder line and 22" from cuff to shoulder line. It's beaded with size 8 blue and white beads which were authentic for the time period. It has been decorated with brass spots. I am throwing in the matching civil war reproduction canteen which has also been fully beaded along the strap. Take a look at the back of this coat- everyone said "Wo-" when I wore it during a raid against the calvary in a buffalo days re-enactment. They are dusty from hanging in my lodge for a few years. The coat also has the name 'Dickerson' written on the inside lineing. This one won't last long. SOLD
Just made this one for David (Custom Order)
Beaded strips by K. Swanson. Contact me for her number. (She is great and very affordable.)
IIn the recently released book; "The Book on Painting Hides," we discuss in detail about applying earth pigment paint on clothing via the "dry paint on dry hide" method.
*** Check out our misc. page for outstanding Plains Indian pieces ***
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You may return the shirt within 10 days if it was not described accurately provided it is returned in the same condition it was when it was mailed. Minus shipping and insurance costs.
Interested in beaded strips? Contact me as I know a great beader who is very reasonable.