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SHIELDS PLAINS INDIANS
Page 4 of 7

TO MAKE A SHIELD WITH A WOODEN HOOP
 
 

A second and less common kind of Plains shield was made with a wooden hoop for a frame.

The Sioux made it in the following way: A green, three-quarter-inch-diameter willow hoop was bent to a diameter approximately the width of a man's chest. The ends of the hoop were beveled, lapped, and lashed together with sinew.

 
     
 

The buffalo hide was soaked in boiling water to shrink it (finished hoop shields were not as thick as the heat-shrunken self-shields which used no hoop ).

 
     
 

The hide was trimmed to the shape of the round hoop, allowing three fingers width of extra hide beyond the hoop, and holes or slits were punched at regular intervals around the edge of the hide.

 

 
 
 

The hide was then pegged down over a mound of dirt to give it its concave shape. An alternate method of obtaining the shape was to form it by pressing the still soft skin down into a dished-out sand mold.

The extra hide was then folded over the edges of the hoop and cross-laced through the slits to the frame. Shield lacings were thongs cut from heavy buckskin. The buckskin sling and hand loops were then attached in the traditional ways and the shield was tested. 16

 
 

 

 

Lightweight ceremonial dance shields were often made in this way, with the wooden hoop being removed after the hide had hardened. The back of the shield in such cases was interlaced with a buckskin thong after the manner employed for tightening shield covers.

 

 

The Comanches made the regular heat-shrunken shields, but they also made hoop shields by throwing the hide over a fire until it was hot enough to remove the meat. The hide was then worked with round stones until it was soft and sewed onto a rattan or hickory hoop. It was " dished" by stretching it over stakes until it was dry.17

 
NEXT - TO MAKE A WOODEN HOOP SHIELD

PAGES IN THIS ARTICLE Intro~ About Shields and Shield Making ] Pictures of Shields of Various Tribes ] To Make a Standard Shield ] [ To Make a Wooden Hoop Shield ] Description of a Comanche Shield ] How the Shield Was Carried ] Four Types of Shields ~ Conclusion ~ Footnotes ]

SHIELDS: Life Living Art ~ Original Snow Owl Article

     

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