Rebecca Bluecloud (Dakota, 1883-1944) Attributed Beaded Hide Doll
Rebecca Bluecloud was part of the Upper Sioux Indian Community in Granite Falls, Minnesota. This interesting woman supported her family in the 1920s and 1930s by creating dolls for sale to tourists. She sold them to souvenir companies who would then sell them at tourist shops throughout the country. Dakota artists began to modify their beadwork for sale to Euro-Americans, beading miniature versions of tipis and human figures with elements that would appeal to Euro-American buyers. Soon after World War I, Dakota people started industries to sell their artwork to tourists, without abandoning traditional methods of beading.
This doll is completely original - nothing about it has been altered. I believe my grandmother purchased this doll sometime between 1912 and 1918. She wrote a note that says "Sioux Chief, made by Rebecca BlueCloud, Grand daughter."
This doll stands at 14 1/2" tall (17" with the feathers that extend from his headband). At his widest point (from hand to hand) he is 4 3/4". His body and clothing are hand sewn. He is elaborately dressed in tan suede leather with accent panels of brown leather. It is also accented with suede panels and leather ribbons in royal blue and forest green. His face and hands are a porous leather. He is elaborately decorated with many unusual and interesting beads that, while they do not match exactly in type, do match in color choices. His clothes are heavily fringed with hand cut leather. One of his most interesting features are his inset black bead eyes. His sculpted and pinched noses is also interesting! He has leather hands that have thumbs but no other fingers (very few native tribes put hands on their dolls). He has short, thick black yarn hair under his leather and beaded headband. Feathers extend from the top of his headdress and are also attached to the leather trailer which extends down his back. He wears several layers of colorful beaded necklaces around his neck at choker length and beaded hoop earrings.
This doll has been in one family for over 100 years and is now being offered for someone's future collection. It is in very good age related condition. The fringe has been bent different directions through the years. All beads appear to be intact. He has lost feathers from the trailer down his back and the remaining ones are fragile.
Rebecca Bluecloud (Dakota, 1883-1944) Beaded Hide Doll, 17 1/2 inches