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Old 10-05-2008, 04:46 PM   #21
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Like Fat Albert above, my armbands are laced. I drilled two holes in either side and used black-dyed hide laces so it matches the rest of my regalia. It gives a little, which is nice when you are moving around, but it still holds it well enough so it doesn't slip down. I find it easier to adjust, and easier to swap out the laces if I wanted it to match a different regalia.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:20 PM   #22
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Mirror boards and armbands

Hi,
The armband clasp that works best is to pierce one end like a belt, with multiple holes. The other end has a stud soldered to it that fits the holes. Just overlap the two and fit the stud into the best fit hole. A loose slip-on 'beltloop' of silver holds the end with the holes in it flat so it won't stick up or come undone. I also solder a wire loop like a towel rack to the bottom edge. This makes a really easy attachment for ribbons. I double the ribbons and use velcro dots to hold them. They are really easy to get on and off.

Also, I make mirror boards of any type. Just let me know what style you want and what your price range is. Most of mine go for $40 to $100. Prices vary according to the wood choice and how many tacks and mirrors are used.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:01 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamwvr8 View Post
Si'Yo!
Thanks for the beautiful pics of the mirror boards. I have a couple questions about them. I have never seen them used and wonder in what manner are they used? What Tribe or Tribes use them? What do they represent?
Thanks for your time.
Peace!
Traci
Many Straight Dancers today carry a mirror board in addition to their tail fan.

Concerning the mirror board, Dr. James Howard states in his work titled “The Ponca Tribe,” that,

“A heliograph signaling device consisted of a trade mirror set in a carved wooden frame. According to PLC (Peter LeClair), the Ponca used sheets of mica for these heliograph mirrors before the days of the trade mirror. Later these mirrors became a favorite article of Hethuska dance paraphernalia.”
(Howard, 1965, p. 72)

In addition to the mirror board being used as a functional signal device, it was thought by many Plains Tribes, including the Ponca, that the mirror was sacred. For some, the light reflected in a mirror resembled the flash of lightning during a thunderstorm, and since the power of thunderstorms had a connection with warfare, the mirror board became a symbol for warriors of the power associated with thunder and lightning. (Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage, 1987)

Among other Plains Tribes the mirror was sacred as a device to protect the owner from spiritual harm. It was believed that as light is deflected by the mirror in another direction, so to would bad medicine or spells made by witches or medicine men among enemy tribes, be deflected in another direction. Thus protecting the owner from the harmful effects of the bad medicine. For this reason, many mirror boards had sacred designs carved or painted on them, or protective amulets tied to them, to enhance their protective capabilities for the owner. (Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage, 1987)

William Wildshut eludes to the sacred nature of the “medicine mirror” in a mirror board when he wrote,

“In early days these mirrors were used in war expeditions for the purpose of bringing good fortune to the owner in all his undertakings. This is symbolized by the light reflected by a moving mirror, as it is impossible to catch the light, so it was impossible for the enemy to capture or to injure the wearer of the medicine mirror.”
(Wildshut, 1904)

Today the mirror board is usually composed of a larger single glass mirror or three to four smaller mirrors, mounted on a wooden board, which could be in any one of a number of different shapes, with some sort of handle. The board can be ornately carved, decorated with paint, wood stain, or brass tacks.

In a demonstration of different art forms, I've seen mirror boards with a handle carved into the shape of a horse’s head and board decorations in bone or silver inlay designs.

It is not unusual even today, to see decorations with spiritual significance added to the mirror boards, such as bits of fur, claws, feather dangles or little amulet bundles. Some Straight Dancers attach to their mirror board, little bundles of powder paint, since the mirror boards are sometimes used while applying face paint.
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"Be good, be kind, help each other."
"Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

--Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

Last edited by Historian; 08-10-2010 at 08:08 AM..
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