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Knife Case and Knife

Artist Culture
Niitsitapi (Blackfeet)
or Assiniboine (Nakota)
Date
c.1890
Material
Tanned hide, rawhide, glass seed beads, pigment, and knife
Possibly made in
United States, North and Central America
Canada, North and Central America
Classification
Arms & armor, metalwork
Current Location
On View, Gallery 322
Dimensions
case length: 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm)
knife: 1 1/2 × 3/4 × 12 1/2 in. (3.8 × 1.9 × 31.8 cm)
Credit Line
The Donald Danforth Jr. Collection, Gift of Mrs. Donald Danforth Jr.
Rights
Contact Us
Object Number
55:2012a,b
NOTES
Extensive beadwork transforms this knife case from utilitarian object into an elegant work of art. Plains men often wear their knives tied to their belts, and a knife case is not merely a necessary cover, but a means of personal adornment. The shape of the case is determined by the type of knife it protects. Single-edged blades are stored in cases with one straight and one curved edge, while double-edged blades are housed in symmetrical cases.

The designs reflect the tastes of both the individual who owns the case and the tribe to which he belongs. Preferences range from subdued colors and delicate patterns to bright colors and bold designs.
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