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Sioux Buffalo Robe by J. Growing Thunder


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Brain tanned buffalo hide, antique French and Italian seed beads size 13, yellow ocher earth paint. This beaded buffalo robe was made by Juanita Growing Thunder-Fogarty between 2014-2018 and is an achievement in modern Native American craftsmanship. "The designs of this robe are in the style of a girl's box and border robe which were originally painted for young girls when they were ready to go through ceremony to become a woman. A beaded robe in this style is very unusual. In working on this particular robe, I came to understand the original maker's intentions with choosing to bead this robe. It is my personal understanding that the large center piece strip with diamond designs was originally the girl's Sioux style soft back cradle board. As the girl aged she must have been very special in character and family decided to have a ceremony for her. With this decision the maker was very innovative with the decision to bead a style of robe that they may have seen in their life or that may have been a family style. "The cradle was the start of the robe. The thin lines running along the length of the robe represent different time periods in a woman's life (long life wishes), this same design element is used in porcupine quill working. The moon shaped designs could have the meaning of how old the young girl was when she went through ceremony (10 years). The outside border are well wishes for the young girl that she may always have plenty in her life. The oblong blocks could represent buffalo, and the smaller designs could represent elk or deer. The wish intention of these animals is that they have all that a Sioux woman could need, meat for food, hides to make clothing or shelter, horn to make eating utensils, rawhide to make storage containers. Everything a Sioux woman would need to make a good life for her family. The eagle feather designs in the corners of the robe are symbols of honor." "The start of the recreation of this robe was in August of 2014. After receiving the robe and collection of beads, the center of the robe is where the beadwork was started. A center line was drawn directly on the robe. The beadwork designs were worked out with counting of the beads, each design is different. This is because of the sizing and shape of the beads. The beadwork is done in the top stitch style, where the thread catches the top of the hide surface not going all the way through the hide. All the knots are hidden beneath the beadwork. The beads must be picked through to get similar sizing to keep the designs somewhat straight, only about half of the beads are useable. The hide surface varies in thickness and toughness along with the size was a variable in how fast the beadwork could go. The work was a very long and tedious endeavor. The last part of the robe project was the painting of the hide, this is with yellow ocher powder earth paint. The complete work took several years of continual work as other art pieces were being worked as well. The last push for the robe to be completed was a hard work schedule of 3am to 7pm days, almost daily from the end of August 2017 to the first part of January 2018."

PERIOD: Contemporary

ORIGIN: Great Plains - Sioux, Native American

SIZE: 75" x 60"

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