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Pair of Dolls

Artist Culture
Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)
Cotton cloth, hide, wool cloth, glass beads, silk, human hair, fur, feather, and pigment
Made in
Minnesota, United States, North and Central America
Sculpture, textiles
Current Location
Not on view
each (measured with arms outstretched): 19 × 8 × 2 in. (48.3 × 20.3 × 5.1 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Donald Ayers Herbst and Danielle Foster-Herbst in loving memory of Donald Frederick Herbst and Barbara Ayers Herbst
Public Domain
Object Number
When outfitting these dolls, the artist miniaturized earlier garment styles. The cut of leggings, calico shirt, and breechclout, or loincloth, on the male doll were popular in the early- and mid-19th century. The female doll features a strap dress, which Anishinaabe women wore with increasing rarity by 1900. The abundance of fabric used here and on similar full-size dresses signaled the wearer’s great wealth, a message heightened by the multiple necklace strands. Anishinaabe finery changed through the 19th century along with the character of diplomatic meetings and religious ceremonies, two principal occasions for wearing exquisite apparel. By recreating regalia from a more ideal past this artist subtly resisted external pressures for cultural reform.
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