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Sioux Horse Effigy to be included in exhibition in Paris, Kansas City, NYC

This horse effigy in the collection at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre is one of two such known works in the world. (South Dakota State Historical Society)

PIERRE — South Dakota’s own Sioux Horse Effigy, an artifact from the collection of the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, will be on display in a groundbreaking exhibition of Plains Indian masterworks, “The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky.”

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 The new traveling exhibition opens on Monday at musée du quai Branly in Paris. It was organized in partnership with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

 “The Plains Indians” will be on view at quai Branly until July 20, then travel to the Nelson-Atkins from Sept. 19 to Jan. 11, 2015. The show culminates at the Metropolitan Museum March 2-May 10, 2015.

 The travels of the Sioux Horse Effigy, as well as photos and information about the exhibit locations, are on display in a small exhibit about the effigy at the Cultural Heritage Center.

The effigy, a masterpiece of Lakota sculpture, is one of only two known horse effigy dance sticks of its kind in the world. Though the master sculptor’s identity has not been officially confirmed, it is highly likely that a Hunkpapa Lakota man named No Two Horns was the maker.

The effigy is thought to have been carved around 1875 to honor a horse that fell in battle. Observers will notice multiple “bullet holes” with “blood” seeping from them and the red-dyed horsehair beneath the mouth, which likely represents “blood” pouring from the horse’s muzzle. The sculptor further accentuated the horse’s pain by molding ears that are pinned and slanting backwards.

Mary C. Collins collected this piece and donated it to the South Dakota State Historical Society in 1920. She was a Congregationalist missionary at Oahe Mission and then on the Standing Rock Reservation. She was well regarded among the people on Standing Rock and was a personal friend of Sitting Bull. No Two Horns and Sitting Bull were cousins. No Two Horns was among the people that joined Sitting bull in his escape to Canada after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and his subsequent return and surrender at Fort Buford in 1881.

The artifact first garnered international attention after its inclusion in a blockbuster exhibit entitled “Sacred Circles: 200 years of North American Indian Art.”

 — Source: S.D. State Historical Society