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ORIGINAL NORTHERN PLAINS SINEW SEWN BEADED BLANKET STRIP CONVERTED TO A WAIST BELT – SHOWS EVIDENCE OF HAVING BEEN USED TO CARRY A PISTOL HOLSTER OR KNIFE SHEATH – US ARMY INFANTRY BUTTON CLOSURE – A WONDERFUL UNIQUE OLD FRONTIER PIECE:  Originally made by one of the Northern Plains tribes, quite possibly the Lakota, this sinew sewn, beaded blanket strip was converted to a very attractive waist belt.  Perhaps salvaged from a damaged buffalo hide or blanket, and trimmed to the length necessary for the wearer, a US Army Infantry uniform button was attached to one end and two corresponding slots were cut into the other end, allowing for some adjustment.  These two slots both show signs of wear, evidence that this belt was regularly worn and was not just some affectation that sat on a display shelf.  Whether this belt was made for an Indian warrior or was configured by an officer or enlisted man at a frontier fort, it is a classic artifact of the Old West.    

Featuring a pleasing pattern, the belt measures 34” long, the strip body is 3 ¼” wide and the rosettes are 4 ¾” in diameter.  The beadwork in very skillfully executed with sinew on brain tanned buckskin in ¼” wide lanes with very early beads – much smaller beads than are normally found on these blanket strips.  There are areas  - particularly at the ends - that have experienced minimal bead loss as can be seen in the photographs; however they do not appreciably impact the overall presentation of this unique piece, and instead testify that this strip did indeed see regular use as a pistol or knife belt.  The buckskin shows all the desirable indicators of age, however it is still fully supple with no hardened spots or significant wear, and it would display very well.

The belt has a definitive “pinch point” on the upper edge just to the inside of the right hand rosette (note arrow pointer in photograph below) where a holstered pistol or heavy knife sheath was carried on the belt – again, on a regular basis in order to create this sort of indentation. 

Combined with a large looped or beaded pistol holster, or a beaded knife sheath, this beautiful belt would make for a dramatic and very unusual display.  These sorts of frontier era modified pieces are unique, one-of-a-kind treasures of that storied era of American history, and like so many other special relics of that period, pieces of this caliber seldom appear on the open market.  SOLD


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