Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Vore Buffalo Jump

An archaeologist friend recently sent me these great cards of a hunting site in Wyoming!

Card text indicates it was a sinkhole used as a bison trap, 1550-1800AD. Bison herds would be driven over the cliff and killed by the fall or hunters below. This was a common hunting method before horses became more available. The site is open to visitors during the summer and is an active archaeological dig, revealing bones and artifacts. For more info see

Newberry Library, Chicago

I was on Chicago's north side last weekend so I stopped into the bookshop at the Newberry. They have a variety of postcards, including a few with native American images from items held in their own art collection and paper archives.

Seth Eastman "Hunting Buffalo in Winter" (1853)
Eastman was a soldier at Minnesota's Fort Snelling in the 1840s and became familiar with Dakota people. He married a Dakota woman and had a son Charles, who later wrote a book about his own life.

Karl Bodmer "Warrior" (1833)
Bodmer was a Swiss artist who came to the US to paint during a hunting trip. This is a portrait of Mehkskehme-Sukahs (Iron Shirt), a member of the Piegan Blackfeet. Their territory included parts of Montana and Alberta Canada.

Man Carrying Firewood, Blackfeet Reservation (undated)
I don't understand the joke of this photo but apparently the woman wants her child. Why is the man carrying firewood when this is a woman's task and why is he wearing a feather bonnet during a non-ceremonial activity? The photo appears to have been taken at a school or agency office. A confusing postcard!

 Cortes' map of the Aztec capitol Tenochtitlan (1524)
The Spanish were impressed when they saw the large bustling city located on an island in a lake, linked to the shore by stone causeways. But they later sacked the city and pulled down the temples. Most of the lake was drained & filled in.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Another great card arrived from Canada! This one features a contemporary wood carving made by Terry Star, entitled "Eagle with Frogs" (1992). Wood, paint and cedar. The artist is a member of the Tsimshian eagle clan and received training at the Royal British Columbia Museum, a prestigious learning site for carvers!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Inuit bone sculpture

A wonderful Canadian Postcrosser drew my name/address and sent me this neat card of Inuit whalebone carvings from the Winnepeg Art Gallery. They are entitled Amayuqyuq and Qallupilluq, and made by Judas Ullulaq in 1996. Not quite sure what they represent...spirit beings perhaps?

Thursday, March 31, 2016


I received a postcard from Germany today featuring objects held in the collection of the Karl May Museum located in Radebeul. Germans have always been interested in Native American culture & arts, collecting ethnological objects from many tribes. This card features a Kiowa baby cradle, a woman's dress that may be Lakota and a mannequin wearing a bear claw necklace.
I like museum cards and always enjoy reading comments about their collections.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Burke Museum

A student went to Seattle over Spring Break and visited the Burke Museum. Happily she brought me 2 lovely postcards to add to my NW Coast collection!! The Burke is well known and highly regarded (but my student says they are building a larger complex):

This card features a Killer Whale crest headdress of the Tlingit people made in the mid 1800s. It was collected in 1905 from Prince of Wales Island and is made from red cedar, sea lion teeth and features mirrors.

Another card shows a wooden rattle carved in the form of a grouse by a Makah artist also in the 1800s and acquired by the museum in 1915. The Smithsonian also has a number of rattles made using this bird form although I am unsure of its cultural meaning.

Natchez Trace

Bought a few cards to send away for Postcrossing (the international postcard exchange site) and picked up one for myself. My collection doesn't have many mound sites so this is a good addition and I will need to order a few more for friends who also enjoy this category. This multi image card celebrates the Natchez Trace, formerly a Native American trail running through Mississippi and Tennessee in Choctaw and Chickasaw territories.
Curiously the text describes Emerald Mound located northeast of Nashville, a Mississippian era site. However the photo appears to actually be Pharr Mounds, located northeast of Tupelo Mississippi on the Trace. This site dates before 200ad, Woodland period. Either way, its nice to have another postcard celebrating Southeastern mound building cultures!!