Northern Plains Courting Flute
    Circa 1880
    Length 25 1/4 in.

    The flute is made of red cedar, the pith removed. The flute is remarkable for its elaborate superstructure. An avian figure serves as the stop and an elongated quadruped straddles the six flute holes. Brass upholstery tacks decorate both figures.
    Courting flutes were used by young men to serenade their sweethearts. Many stories are told of love calls played at night from the edge of camp to arrange a rendezvous. The carved figures may represent animals or birds whose behavior was interpreted in amorous or erotic terms. (For related examples see: Conn, Richard; Native American Art in the Denver Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, 1979, p. 136; Vincent, Brydon, Coe (Eds.), Art of the North American Indians: The Thaw Collection, New York State Historical Association, Fenimore Art Museum, 2000, p. 143; and Hail, Barbara, Hau, Kóla, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, 1980, p. 184.)

    Collected by Charles Henry Parker in Montana during the 1890's. Descended in the family to Mrs. Virginia Ward Golding, Pontiac, Michigan, 1979. Chandler-Pohrt Collection. Morning Star Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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    Auction Dates
    September, 2006
    29th Friday
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