The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Beauty, Honor, and Tradition: The Legacy of Plains Indian Shirts, February 22 - May 16, 2004

Southern Plains: A Unique Style

The Native people who inhabit the southern Great Plains developed a unique style of decorating objects. Removed from their original homelands, the tribes who settled that region each brought their own artistic traditions. Combined, these aesthetics created a new hybrid style. Instead of heavily decorating their garments with porcupine quills and beads as was common on the northern Plains, southern Plains artists followed the minimalist philosophy that less is more.
They often painted objects with soft hues and preferred warmly colored hides over the naturally white skins favored on the northern Plains. Southern Plains beadwork also was minimal and used primarily as trim on garments and moccasins. In addition, tribes from the region added a thin, twisted fringe to their shirts and leggings, which complemented the form-fitting style of their garments.
These variations, decorative motifs, and techniques create interesting contrasts to the artwork of the northern tribes and mark southern Plains artists as being highly sophisticated.

Possibly Inunaina (Arapaho)
Shirt (front), about 1885