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Auction Name: 2020 November 20 Ethnographic Art American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Art Signature Auction - Dallas
Lot Number: 70171
Shortcut to Lot: HA.com/8020-70171
Gary Schildt (b. 1938) Sundance Medicine Skull
watercolor on paper; signed lower right; inscribed verso Sketch of Sundance Medicine skull formerly owned by Pat Bad Eagle, medicine man and Chief of the Piegane
; together with the painted skull depicted
The L. D. Bax Collection
Dimensions: watercolor, 10 ½ x 13 ¼ (sight), 15 ¼ x 18¼ (framed)
Native American people in the applicable cultural regions utilized various buffalo parts in various symbolic ways. A standard concept held was that the spirit of a given buffalo remained within, and exuded power from a given part. Buffalo skulls, considered to be primary body parts, widely served as centerpieces and altars in private and communal rites as well. Individuals could possess and utilize a skull in personal rites. In addition, societal groups could retain a skull or skulls integrally with their other ceremonial paraphernalia. The exterior, naturally removable horns per se could be retained. However, as with the skull offered here, some were utilized with merely the bony cores of the skulls proper remaining in place. Skulls typically served as essential equipment, and thus were retained enclosed within a bundle with other objects.
Native Americans made use of some skulls devoid of symbolic additions. However, they also painted some skulls with unique symbols -- using one or more various colors. Such additions were not seen to be merely decorative. Instead, such motifs and designs would likely have been received in a dream or vision, and were considered to bear ceremonial significance that generally remained indecipherable to outsiders.
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