Feather Dusters Repurposed

Wedding Coat and Plume Hat, Wazhazhe (Osage) Artists, 1900s, Plus Epaulet Pair, 1830

These clothes are from the Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration show. They are wedding attire, created by local Osage tribe Native Americans. The hat is made from exuberantly dyed feather dusters and the coat is adorned with Osage-style ribbon work and embroidery. Osage makers applied such embellishments to military jackets received as diplomatic gifts from the US government. Such coats symbolized status and were worn by the brides at their weddings. This tradition persists, with Osage artists sourcing coats from military or band uniform suppliers. Passed down through families, these garments have been folded into Osage culture and aesthetics, demonstrating the creativity with which the Osage people have deployed non-indigenous materials for their uses.

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