Wind River History Home Page

Shoshone Art Home
 

A Gallery of Shoshone-Bannock Beadwork

1870-1900

Beadwork is the best-known art form of Wind River and Fort Hall Shoshones and Bannocks.  It is an enduring tradition, but one that has evolved over time.  Materials, styles, colors, patterns, symbolism and other characteristics reflect the environment of the beader at the time she or he created their work.  This is as true for modern beadworkers as it was in the 19th century.  Today, beadwork can literally adorn almost any object, including watch bands, key fobs, baseball caps, wallets, belts, dresses, vests, sport shoes, etc.    More traditional forms, of course, include powwow regalia--beaded buckskin dresses, moccasins, traditional pouches and teepee storage bags, leggings, etc.  

This page of thumbnails is linked to some of the earliest examples of Shoshone-Bannock beadwork found on clothing and moccasins.  Beadwork Index Page 2 provide links to geometric designs on items such as knife sheaths, bags and pouches, pipe bags, and other decorated items.  One of the key features of early Shoshone-Bannock beadwork is the overwhelming preference for four basic colors:  white, green, blue, and cobalt.

Beginning with Beadwork Index Page 3, the focus shifts to items bearing the transitional floral patterns from 1890-1950. One should notice the decline "box & eye" or "boxed eye" geometic designs that often involve the use of rectilinear motifs on solid backgrounds to the use of floral designs.   These earliest floral patterns are abstract, while later examples become more and more realistic.  Beadwork Index Page 3 shows this change in decorated clothing items, such as moccasins, leggings, and vests.  Beadwork Index Page 4 has the links to the early floral designs in bags, pouches, and other items.

In the post-WW II era, the famous Shoshone Rose emerges as one of the dominant beadwork patterns.      Beadwork Index Page 5 introduces the post-WW II beadwork designs.  Click on thumbnails to see larger image and provenance/source. 

 
Beadwork Index Page 2 Beadwork Index Page 3
Beadwork Index Page 4 Beadwork Index Page 5

   

 

Beadwork Index Page 2 Beadwork Index Page 3
Beadwork Index Page 4 Beadwork Index Page 5

Wind River History Home Page

Shoshone Art Home