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Winter Count: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Historically, Plains Indian tribes preserved the passage of time through oral history, recalling important events to mark the year and passing those stories down through the generations. This winter count, a pictographic calendar created by the Lakota that records these stories from 1798-1904, offers a one hundred and six year glimpse of their history.Each image on a winter count represents an important event that happened one specific winter, and this transcription is held by a keeper who is responsible for its content and remembers the associated stories. Each winter count varies slightly, often combining events that were shared tribally and events that may have happened in the specific village of origin. They were originally drawn on hide, and the images were transferred to muslin cloth when the hide became too worn. The Institute's winter count is painted on muslin, and the sequence of events starts in the upper left hand corner and moves in a clockwise direction. Most Lakota winter counts start with an image of a calumet decorated with feathers that symbolizes a ceremony that blesses the elderly, expectant mothers and children. Winter counts preserve important aspects of Plains Indian history through the eyes of the people who were there.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009