Collection: Fenn

Item Number: FCSHIE76

Category: Shield

Region: Plains

Tribe: Sioux

Period: 1850-1875

Materials: Buffalo rawhide, native tanned skin, iron, feathers, sinew, bird head, yellow, green, red, black ocher, bronze bell.

Description: Round shield made from thin sheet iron backed with buffalo rawhide that is held in place with four copper rivets. Native tanned shield cover with a five color rainbow across the top half applied with dry pigments. A sandhill crane head is tied to the center of the shield and a dog bell attached under the neck. Eagle feathers tied top and bottom. When this shield was obtained in Colorado in 1936, it had the following anonymous label attached to it. "This old buffalo shield was the personal property of Judge Thunder Bear and is very old and has become broken and tattered with time. Thunder Bear was a full blooded Sious Indian on this reservation and was Police Judge in this Pine Ridge District for many years. He died ten years ago at the time of the flu epidemic (1918) and I (person unknown) came into possession of his buffalo shield some time later from a neighbor of his who was given it soon after his death. Thunder Bear was a noted Sious leader and was regularly elected Police Judge.

Dimensions: Diameter 18 inches


Marvin Fenn
Unknown collector
Judge Thunder Bear


Hanson, James A., Spirits in the Arts: From the Plains and Soutwest Indian Cultures, The Lowell Press, Kansas City, 1994, pp 19

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