Exhibitions/ Art Object

Dress and Belt with Awl Case

Unrecorded Wasco Artist (Native American)
ca. 1870
United States, Columbia River region, Oregon or Washington
Hide, glass, shell, bone, teeth, metal
H. 52 × W. 43 1/2 in. (132.1 × 110.5 cm)
Credit Line:
The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of Native American Art, Promised Gift of Charles and Valerie Diker
Rights and Reproduction:
Image © Charles and Valerie Diker Collection/Photo: Dirk Bakker
Not on view
Plateau cultures thrived in the hilly steppe region between the Cascades in Washington and Oregon and the Rockies in Idaho and Montana. Garments of superior craftsmanship incorporating trade goods, such as this example, expressed personal identity and a family’s high status. The woman who made this two-hide dress lavishly covered the torso and sleeves with black-and-white beadwork, which she framed with fringes embellished with glass beads, cowry shells, bone, and two highly prized elk canines. The dress is accompanied by its own belt and awl case: awls were among the tools that women used in the preparation of animal skins.
Said to have been purchased from Leona Moses, Yakima Reservation, WA, 1970; Purchased 8/17/1996, Medicine Valley Trading Co.l, PO Box 289, Tappenish, WA 98948

Berlo, Janet Catherine, Bruce Bernstein, T.J. Brasser, and Allen Wardwell. Native Paths: Native American Art from the Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker, edited by Allen Wardwell. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998, no. 22, pp. 38–39.

Bernstein, Bruce, and Gerald McMaster, eds. First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art. Washington, DC: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 2004, no. 103, pp. 152–53.

Penney, David W. Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection. New York: Skira, 2015, no. 80, pp. 138–139.