Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    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.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2006
    29th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,505

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on Sep 29, 2006 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 19 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    You have done a terrific job!  I am so pleased.  Thank you for your professionalism, it's been a complete pleasure dealing with you. 
    Merti, W.,
    San Francisco, CA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search