Native American Art: The Beauty of the Buffalo Horn Cover

Every now and then we get a piece that speaks volumes about the old ways of the Lakota…and artist James Little Wounded never ceases to amaze! Of all the incredible pieces he's presented to us over the last few months, we have to say his spoon made of buffalo horn cover is one of the most impressive.

Rose Kern, our Product Specialist explains the beauty of this exquisite piece…

This buffalo horn cover spoon by Jim Little Wounded of the Minneconjou tribe from the Cheyenne Indian Reservation.

The spoon is made of raw horn cover from a buffalo. To give it the familiar shape of a spoon, the artist used the time intensive techniques of his forefathers - the horn cover was boiled until soft and malleable, then carefully bent, carved, shaped, and dried.

Horn cover utensils, like this spoon, were used by Plains Indians for thousands of years. Once the horn cover was boiled, bent, carved, shaped, and dried, it was decorated.

This one is decorated with porcupine quills that have been dyed and flattened, then applied to the spoon using 3 distinct quillwork techniques - plaited, wrapped, and sewn down. He's also added tin cones and horse hair tuffs. Horse hair tuffs were often used as a tribute to a favorite war/hunting pony. Since hair is extention of soul, hair from the actual pony was typically used.

What I like about this piece is it show a continuation of culture. Since the Plains Indians have been using horn cover for thousands of years, even in our modern times we can still use horn cover; Jim creates a spoon that can still be used (if you wanted to) at any social gathering.

***06.13.2011 Update***
The piece has since sold. In cases like this, especially when we really love a piece, selling such a special item can be a bittersweet experience…but luckily, this prolific artist has been known to wow us on a fairly consistent basis. We can't wait to see what he does next!