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ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS

OF

THE AMERICAN MUSEUM
OF NATURAL HISTORY

Vol. XVII




NEW YORK

PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF THE TRUSTEES

1916



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CIARK WISSLER



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i LIBRARY

ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS

OP

THE AMERICAN MUSEUM
OF NATURAL HISTORY

VOL. XVII, PART I

RIDING GEAR OP THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS

BT

GLABK WIS8LEB



NEW YORK

PUBLISHED BY ORDER OP THE TRUSTEES
1915



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American Musetim of Natural History.

PUBLICATIONS IN ANTHROPOLOGY.



In 1906 the present series of Anthropological Papers was authorized by the
Trustees of the Museum to record the'results of research conducted by the Depart-
ment of Anthropology. The series comprises octavo volumes of about 350 pages
each| issued in parts at irregular intervals. Previous to 1906 articles devoted to
anthropological subjects appeared as occasional papers in the Bulletin and also in
the Memoir series of the Museum. A complete list of these publications with prices
will be furnished when requested. All communications should be addressed to the
Librarian of the Museum.

The recent issues are as follows: —



Volume X.

I. Chipewyan Texts. By Pliny Earle Goddard. Pp. 1-66. 1912. Price,
$1.00.

II. Analysis of Cold Lake Dialect, Chipewyan. By Pliny Earle Goddard
Pp. 67-170, and!249 text figures. 1912. Price, $1.00.

in. Chipewyan Tales. By Robert H. Lowie. Pp. 171-200. 1912. Price.
$.25.

IV. (In preparation).

Volume XI.

I. Societies and Ceremonial Associations in the Oglala Division of the Teton
Dakota. By Clark Wissler. Pp. 1-99, and 7 text figures. 1912. Price, $.50.

II. Dance Associations of the Eastern Dakota. By Robert H. Lowie. Pp.
101-142. 1913. Price, $.25.

III. Societies of the Crow, Hidatsa and Mandan Indians. By Robert H. Lowie.
Pp. 143-358 and 18 text figures. 1913. Price, $2.00.

IV. Societies and Dance Associations of the Blackfoot Indians. By Clark
Wissler. Pp. 363-460, and 29 text figures. 1913. Price, $1.00.

V. Dancing Societies of the Sarsi Indians. By Pliny Earle Goddard. Pp.
461-474. 1914. Price, $.25.

VI. Political Organization, Cults, and Ceremonies of the Plains-Ojibway and
Plains-Cree Indians. By Alanson Skinner. Pp. 475-642, and 10 text figures.

1914. Price, $.75.

VII. Pawnee Indian Societies. By James R. Murie. Pp. 54S-644, and 18
text figures. 1914. Price, $1.00. •
VIII. Societies of the Ankara Indians. By Robert H. Lowie. Pp. 645-678.

1915. Price, $.50.

IX. Societies of the Iowa, Kansa, and Ponca Indians. By Alanson Skinner.
Pp. 679-801, and 5 text figures. 1915. Price, $1.00.

X. Dances and Societies of the Plains Shoshone. By Robert H. Lowie. Pp.
803-835. 1915. Price, $55.

XI . (In preparation) .



iConiinusd on 5d p. of cover.)

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CONTENTS OF VOLUME XVII.

Part I. Riding Gear of the North American Indians. By Clark Wissler.

1915 1

Part II. Costumes of the Plains Indians. By Clark Wissler. 1915 39
Part III. Structural Basis to the Decoration of Costumes among the Plains

Indians. By Clark Wissler. 1916 93

Part IV. Basketry of the Papago and Pima. By Mary Lois Kissell. 1916 . 115

Index 265



406043

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RIDING GEAR OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS.
By Clark Wissler.



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CONTENTS

Paqb.

Introduction 5

Frame Saddles 7

CANTLES 9

SEATS 9

Pad Saddles 14

Stirrups 15

Accessories 17

Quirts and Ropes 27

Bridles 27

Distribution of Types 31

Chronology ... 36

Summary 37



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Text Figures.

1. Camp Scene showing a Saddle staked down while the Rawhide Obver
dries and sets. Painting by Catlin in the Mills Collection .... 4

2. A Shoshone Saddle 6

3. Side Bar Forms 8

4. Saddle Bow of Antler, Cheyenne 9

5. A Crow Saddle 10

6. A Blackfoot Saddle 10

7. A Navajo Saddle 11

8. A Pad Saddle, Dakota 12

9. A Mandan Saddle 13

10. Method of Constructing Wooden Stirrups . . ... 15

11. Detail of Shoshone Stirrup 16

12. A Thompson Stirrup 16

13. Detail of Attachment for a Stirrup, Dakota 16

14. Crupper for a Saddle. Shoshone 18

15. Crupper for a Saddle. Blackfoot 19

16. Crupper for a Saddle. Guatemala 20

17. Saddle with Native Attachments. Thompson 21

18. Saddle Cloth of Buffalo Skin. Dakota 22

19. Saddle Bag of Buffalo Skin. Dakota 23

20. Saddle with Carved Antler Bow and Cantle fashioned and decorated to
resemble Bird Heads. Thompson 24

21. Wooden Saddle with Carved Cantle. Menomini .... 25

22. Crow Stirrup 26

23. Typical Plains Quirt. Blackfoot 28

24. Wooden Handled Quirt. Cheyenne 28

25. Unusual Quirt Handles 29

26. Spanish Bits found among the Navajo and Crow respectively ... 30

27. Sketch found in the Codex Baranda 33

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Introduction.

The investigation of the horse culture complex among the American
Indians was undertaken to discover the procedure in a concrete case of
culture diffusion, an important anthropological problem of the day. One
of the most difficult tasks confronting the anthropologist is the elucidation
of the precise complexes by which various traits of culture are produced.
Since there is on every hand abundant evidence that many traits of culture
are borrowed, or diffused, over large areas, the study of typical concrete
instances of diffusion are of the first importance. A number of European
anthropologists have been sp impressed with the significance of diffusion,
that they have developed from it a theory to account for the origin of culture
traits. This theory is usually known as that of single origin as opposed
to the theory of independent invention. The former asserts that all
important traits of culture were invented but once and subsequently
gradually diffused; the latter, that the same invention was made indepen-
dently in many parts of the world, whence its diffusion is but apparent.
As everyone knows, the discussion of such problems comes to naught unless
concrete cases can be investigated.

The horse culture complex of the American Indian offers an excellent
opportunity to study diffusion, because most of the essential facts are
obtainable. The horse was introduced by Europeans at an early date and
spread ahead of interior exploration. In particular, many of the tribes
west of the Mississippi River became horsemen before their discovery by
Europeans. The history of horse introduction is briefly outlined in the
Avierican Anthropologist, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 1-25. The investigation here
reported is the intensive study of collections of riding gear and horse-using
appliances to be found in anthropological collections. The material avail-
able in the Museum gives us a representative series for each important tribe
in the horse-using area so that we may proceed in confidence.

A preliminary statement of the results attained in this study were
published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1,
p. 254. In the selection and comparison of specimens the writer has been
aided by Mr. William A. Sabine, assistant in the Museum, whose great
knowledge of specimens and their distribution was indispensable to the task.
Other acknowledgments are due to Mr. S. Ichikawa for the illustrations
and to my secretary. Miss Bella Weitzner, for gathering reference material.

July, 1915.



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6 Anthropological Papers American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII,



Fig. 2 (50-2289). A Shoshone Saddle.



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1915.] Wi88ler, Riding Gear.



Frame Saddles.

American Indian saddles are of two distinct kinds readily characterized
by the names frame saddle and pad saddle, each representing quite distinct
structural concepts.

The fundamental pattern of all the frame saddles we have seen is iden-
tical: viz., two parallel side bars, supporting two forked or bowed uprights
(a pommel and a cantle), between which is suspended a hammock-like
seat. The side bars are of wood ranging in lengths from 31 to 55 cm. though
of the sixty-six specimens examined fifty-one fall between 37 and 49 cm. and
tend toward two norms, 42 and 48 cm. respectively; their widths average
about 9 cm. and their thickness, 1 cm. Their forms vary somewhat but
seem to be of four types, straight, curved, boat-shaped, and tree-shaped
(like a shoe-tree), Fig. 3a, 6, c, d. The ends are rounded and pierced with
one or two holes for the girths. Tribal differences are not consistent but
in the main the tree-shaped side bars are found in the Southwest among the
Navajo, Jicarilla, and Hopi and are probably copies of modern trade saddles.
The form appears in one specimen from the Sauk and Fox but not elsewhere.
The boat-shaped bar is most pronounced in Mescalero saddles. The Ute,
Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Sarsi, Winnebago, Menomini, and Plains-Cree are
straight. The Shoshone are very slightly curved but the Crow and Dakota
decidedly so. The Hidatsa-Mandan are both straight and curved. The
number of holes in the ends tend toward uniformity, two for each, but the
Ute and Shoshone usually have but one while the Cheyenne vary. In all
cases, however, the number is the same in each saddle.

The bows or fronts of the saddles are not so uniform as the side bars,
in fact presenting the greatest individuality of all parts. In general,
however, they are of four types. The horn type is shown in Fig. 2 and is
made of a single piece of wood with a curious prong under the pommel upon
which the quirt and rope can be secured. This form occurs among the
following tribes: Blackfoot, Crow, Cheyenne, Dakota, Mandan, Sarsi,
Shoshone, Thompson, Ute, and Winnebago. In no case is it the only type
of bow for the tribe, but is strongly developed among the Shoshone. One
Blackfoot saddle (Fig. 6) has bows and cantle of antler which has been
trimmed and apparently bent into the required shape.

In the above grouping we have taken all bows having the distinct hook,
but in many cases the pommel itself was not of the Shoshone type.

The Y type of bow takes its form from the* material. A forked piece
of antler is trimmed as shown in Fig. 4. It is most strongly developed
among the Cheyenne but occurs among the Crow, Dakota, Thompson,



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8



Anthropological Papers American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII,



Mandan-Hidatsa. An analogous form in wood is found among the Sauk
and Fox, Winnebago, Menomini, Caddo, and Mescalero. It may be noted
that the Ute, Shoshone, Blackfoot, and Sarsi do not have this form.

The bow type results from the use of a simple curved piece of antler.








Pig. 3 (a. 50.1-0931; b. 50.1-465: c, 50.1-466; d, 50-6780). Side Bar Forms.

not a fork (Fig. 5). It occurs among the Shoshone, Ute, Cheyenne, Crow,
Dakota, Mandan-Hidatsa, and Plains-Cree. Somewhat analogous forms
in wood are found among the Hopi, Navajo, Taos, Sauk and Fox, and
Menomini.



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1916.] Wissler, Riding Gear. 9

The angular t}T)e is found chiefly among the Navajo (Fig. 7). There
is one specimen in the Ute collection but that is probably intrusive.



Fig. 4 (50-5626a). Saddle Bow of Antler. Cheyenne.



CANTLES.

As a rule, the cantle of an Indian saddle is a duplicate of the bow. The
horn type of bow is accompanied by a cantle 'of similar shape, but instead
of the hook we find an eye for the support of the seat. There are a few
saddles in which a Y-shaped bow is used with a simple bowed cantle, but
these are not confined to a single tribe. The saddles of the Navajo and of
the several divisions of the Apache as shown in the Figs. 7 and Sd are nearer
to the types of modern saddles and present hot only different forms for the
cantle and bow but set them at different angles. However, a close inspec-
tion of all types of Indian saddles shows that in almost every case there is
a slight difference in these angles, the bows tending to be vertical or even
slightly inclined inward while the cantles incline outward. This shows that
there was a definite concept as to the relations of these two parts.



SEATS.

All the frame saddles we have seen have the suspended seat, simply a
broad band of skin supported by the bow and the cantle. Where the bow
is supplied with a hook, this is passed through a hole in the skin, while the
rawhide binding of the cantle has an eye through which a wooden pin is
passed to hold the other end of the seat. With bows and cantles of the Y
type, the ends of the seat are looped over the projecting parts while in case
of the simple bows they are passed around the horn and sewed. The univer-
sality of this seat is shown by its use in the more modern forms of the



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10 Anthropological Papers American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII,



Fig. 6 (50.1-724). A Crow Saddle.



Fig. 6 (50.1-1069). A Blackfoot Saddle.



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1915.) Wissler, Riding dear. 11



Fig. 7 (50.1-944). A Navajo Saddle.



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12 A nlhropologiccd Papers A merican Museum, of Naiural History. [Vol. XVII ,.



Fig. 8 (50.1-7615). A Pad Saddle. Dakota.



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1915.) Wisaler, Riding Gear. 13



Fig. 9 (50.1-5481). A Mandan Saddle.



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14 A nthropological Papers A merican Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVI I .

Southwest. In some cases frame saddles seem to have been used exclusively
for packing and so were not provided with seats.

The fundamental principle of construction seems to be the binding of
green or wet rawhide which as it dries, shrinks. In every case the whole
surface of the frame is covered. That this is mechanically necessary is
improbable and in Navajo saddles the frame is entirely covered with leather
in such manner as to preclude any but conventional motives. It seems
more likely that the practice of covering the entire frame was naively copied
from leather-covered Spanish saddles. It is, of course, true that the use
of rawhide would add strength to the frame but this could have been secured
by binding at the joints. We have no data as to the manipulations in saddle
construction but find in the Mills Catlin collection an interesting sketch

(Fig. 1).

The pattern for the rawhide cover seems to have been the same every-
where and the seams were uniformly underneath and sewed with the same
kind of stitch.

All saddles were provided with a single girth suspended in the middle by
two straps as in Fig. 2.

Pad Saddles.

Distinct from the frame saddle is the pad, simply a bag of soft skin stuffed
with hair or other soft materials. The Dakota saddle may be taken as
the type (Fig. 8).

In our collections are similar saddles from the Blackfoot, Mandan-
Hidatsa, Plains-Cree, and Thompson. According to Henry ^ the same type
was used by the Assiniboine and Plains-Cree. In all we find essentially
the same shape of pad, the strong transverse band of leather to which the
girth and stirrups are fastened.

A somewhat different form of pad is found in the Southwest. From the
White Mountain Apache we have a very crude pad of reeds covered with
buffalo skin and Russell reports similar ones from the Pima.^ One of more
definite form was collected in San Ildefonso. In all of these, the girth is
passed over the top.

A special variant of the frame saddle is found among the Mandan-
Hidatsa and the Dakota of which the Mandan specimen (Fig. 9) may



1 Henry and Thompson. New Light on the Early History of the Great Northwest,
Edited by Elliott Coues, New York. 1897, 526.

s Russell. Frank. The Pima Indians (Twenty-sixth Annual Report. Bureau of American
Ethnology. Washington. 1908). 113.



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1915.)



WissleVt Riding Gear,



15



serve as the type. In this case the wooden side bars are set more nearly
vertical than in other types. The bow and cantle are of curved horn and
over all is stretched a skin covering.



Stirrups.

As a rule all Indian saddles are provided with stirrups. These, perhaps,
more than saddles, exemplify the skill of the workman. A piece of wood
about 1 cm. thick and 49 cm. long is cut as shown in Fig. 10. It is grooved
as indicated and bent to the form in Fig. 106. Over the overlapping arch
is placed a rod or splint whose ends are secured by sinew usually underneath
the foot rest. A strip of buffalo hide is then stretched around the outside




d




bed

Fig. 10. Method of Constructing Wooden Stirrups.

and secured by lacing under the bottom or foot rest. In almost every
specimen we have seen the form of this lacing is precisely the same, kt the
top of the stirrup the covering is carried entirely around the wooden arch
and stitched underneath.

A comparative study of the stirrups in the collection indicates that
Fig. 13 is the prevailing type in the Plains. For women's saddles among



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y



16



Anthropoloffical Pajyers American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII,



the Shoshone, Crow, and Blackfoot, the shape is as shown in Fig. 11, but
otherwise the structure is the same. In the Hidatsa-Mandan and Thompson
collections there is a variant as shown in Fig. 12.

Teit ^ described a stirrup made from a block of wood. This is almost





Fig. 11.



Fig. 12.





Fig. 11 (50-1162).
Fig. 12 (16-9152).
Fig. 13 (50-.3032b),



Fig. 13.
Detail of Shoshone Stirrup.
A Thompson Stirrup.
Detail of Attachment for a Stirrup.



Dakota.



identical with a trade stirrup and may, therefore, be considered a direct
copy. The saddles from the Navajo and other Southwestern peoples have
iron trade stirmps; Russell, however, collected a specimen from the Pima
which is apparently made of l)ent wood.^

^ The Thompson Indians of British Columbia (Memoirs, American Museum of Natural
History, vol. 2. part 4. New York, 1900), 258, Fig. 244.
> RusseU, ibid., 113.



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1915.1 Wissler, Riding Gear. 17

The stirrup is supported by a strap or thong passed over the side bar
and through the stirrup. In most cases it rests free upon the side bar so
that it may slide forward and backward as desired. It is only in a few
Mandan-Hidatsa saddles that a hole is made in the side bar through which
the stirrup is passed. In but one Dakota specimen have we found any
device for raising or lowering the stirrup except the simple retying of the
strap. In this case a kind of toggle has been devised as a substitute for
a buckle (Fig. 13).

Accessories.

Many saddles, especially those used by women, are provided with
cruppers. Among the Sarsi, Blackfoot, Crow, and Shoshone^ these are
large and ornamental as shown in Figs. 14 and 15. It is interesting
to note that we have two specimens from Guatemala of the same general
type, Fig. 16. The Spanish horsemen in the days of the Conquest often
used very elaborate cruppers and back harness and also highly decorated
collars. Of the latter, a form is sometimes found with women's saddles
among the Shoshone and Crow.

A single cinch is used and so adjusted as to bear upon the middle of the
saddle (see Fig. 2). It is usually a strip of hide but sometimes is woven
of hair. On the Th6mpson specimen (Fig. 17), y-shaped pieces of antler
are used to join the cinch to the supporting straps and a short piece of antler
inserted in the end of the cinch to serve as a ring.

In some cases the side bars are provided with fixed pads, but it was usual
to place loose pads or blankets under the saddle. A special ornamental
blanket upon which the saddle rests is used by women among the Dakota,
Ute, Crow, and some Shoshone (Fig. 18).

A few saddle bags occur in the collections (Fig. 19) but their exact
distribution cannot be determined.

Various ornamental attachments are found, the most typical of which
are shown in the figure. The high pommels are usually trimmed with long
fringes of buckskin. Among the Ute, Shoshone, and Crow pendant beaded
flaps are often seen. In a few cases the bows and cantles are studded with
brass nails which among the Navajo seems to be a prevailing style. While .
the pommel obviously offers opportunity for realistic carving, examples are
rare. Figs. 20 and 21 present the only cases noted.

Beaded pendants are usual on the stirrups used by women among the
Ute, Shoshone, and Crow (Fig. 22).

t See this series, vol. 6. 94.



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18 Anthropological Papers American Mxueum of Natural History, [Vol. XVII,



Fig. 14 (50-2291). Crupper for a Saddle. Shoshone.



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1915.]



WissUft Riding Gear.



19



Fig. 15 (50.1-1067). Crupper for a Saddle. Blackfoot.



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20 A nthropoloffiail Papers A merican Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII,



Fig. 16 (05-2177). Crupper for a Saddle. Guatemala.



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1915.) Wissler, Riding Gear. 21



Fig. 17 (1G-9152J. Saddle with Native Attachments. Thompson.

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22 Anthropological Papers American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII,



Fig. 18 (50.1-7503). Saddle Cloth of Buflfalo Skin. Dakota.



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1915.) Wisaler, Riding Gear. 23



Fig. 19 (1-2642). Saddle Bag of Buffalo Skin. Dakota.



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24 Anlhropiljjicjl Papers Am3rici*i Xfuseun of SilurilHUlonj. (Vol. XVII,



Fig. 20 ( 16-87 lOa). Saddle with Carved Antler Bow and Cantle fashioned and deco-



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