Native American Exhibit Celebrating Horse Nation Features Ornate Masks

WASHINGTON, DC—A major exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian celebrates the relationship between Native peoples and what many tribes refer to as “horse nation.”

By the 1800s the connection was cemented, with horses becoming a regular part of tribal life useful in peace and war, respected as an ally.

The ornate horse masks included in the exhibit are true works of art.

According to the Smithsonian museum, “Native peoples paid homage to horses by incorporating them into their cultural and spiritual lives, and by creating art that honored the bravery and grace of the horse.”

“A Song for Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures” is on view from Oct. 29, 2011, to Jan. 7, 2013.

Photos by Arts Observer

Above, Ogala Lakota beaded horse mask, circa 1904 (seed beads, hide and sinew), Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. Top of page, Multicolored glass horse mask, 2008 by Marcus Amerman, b. Choctaw, New Mexico.

Detail of beaded mask.

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