A Lakota horse mask has gone back on display at Wyoming State Museum following recent conservation and stabilization work.
Fewer than 50 historical masks are known to exist, and the Wyoming State Museum’s Lakota mask is unique due to its large size. It is fully beaded.
Loose beadwork, lining and other elements were repaired in the mask.
The work was made possible by a grant from the Greenwood Fund, part of the Denver Foundation.
“The mask is notable for its size and fully beaded patriotic design,” curator Mandy Langfald said.
It can be viewed in the Barber Native American Gallery of the Wyoming State Museum.
The mask was donated to the museum in 1958. It is made from buffalo hide, weighs 10.5 pounds and is believed to have been made near the turn of the 20th century.
Horse masks were made to decorate Indian mounts, a practice that some believe may have started when the native Americans saw the armoured horses of the Spanish conquistadors.