“Crow Traveling Medicine Beaded Doll”Mary Lou Big Day
This astounding ensemble is a priceless example of history, heritage, and heartfelt, masterful doll-making. Says this award-winning artist, “Through my dolls,I hope to preserve our past heritage for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
A Crow Indian from Montana, the artist has been named Artist of the Year by the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, a nationwide, peer-elected honor. This is just one of her many awards.
This elaborate ensemble depicts a Crow woman, all dressed up, and traveling. True to historical accuracy, there are only a couple of breaks with tradition, owing to 21st century life: Instead of a leather body stuffed with buffalo hair, she now creates fabric bodies stuffed with cotton. And, instead of real elk teeth, there are myriad tiny dried kernels of corn.
The red flannel, colors of the beadwork, shapes of the beadwork designs, and every element of her paraphernalia – and that of the horse (which is not handmade, but a handsome foil for all the work that is) – are all authentically historic, and meticulously hand made.
This doll is made to be enjoyed with the eyes, the mind and the heart, but not played with. It is an accurate, historical replication of the Crow past, and exhibits deep pride, as well as skill and emotion.
Each time you look at it, there is more to marvel at: cradleboard, parfleche (saddlebag), moccasins, and every detail of her clothing. Natural horsehair forms the figure’s long braids, and decorates her ceremonial staff.
There is a prize ribbon that accompanies this splendid example of preserving the past to enrich the present and the future.
Serious collectors of history, Native culture, and/or dolls are sure to appreciate this exemplary piece, on several levels.