Native American, central North America, upper Missouri River region, Yanktonai Sioux, ca. 1860s CE. A gorgeous rifle case made from tanned buffalo hide with a narrow barrel housing and a wide area for the back stock. The barrel and back stock housings are sewn together with sinew in the middle, and a pair of additional leather panels is sewn on either side with a thick leather carrying strap arching in-between. Dozens of thin tassels drape from the strap bases, barrel housing, and both ends, and give the case a wondrous appearance. Two panels of intricately sewn beads form mirrored triangles that meet with their tips at a petite horizontal bar, and the beads are presented in hues of citrine, strawberry, sky-blue, sapphire-blue, and midnight-blue. A modern interior aluminum rod keeps the form of the case. Size: 40.8" L x 5" W (103.6 cm x 12.7 cm).
For a stylistically similar example from the Crow Indians with similar beading colors, please see The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, accession number 2004.70.7: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/90966/gun-scabbard-apsaalooke
Provenance: private Glorieta, New Mexico, USA collection
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Minor creasing marks on barrel end, back stock end, and midsection of case, with light staining, losses to some beads, and old repairs to areas of carrying strap. Nice patina throughout. Aluminum rod inside case is modern and preserves form.