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  • Hairplates

    There has been a lot of discussion on the origin of the Otter Dragger, but I have not seen much discussed about the origin of Hairplates. I have seen sets of tradesilver Hairplates in museums listed as southern Arapaho, southern Cheyenne, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Comanche, and Osage. Anyone care to volunteer what they may know about the origin of Hairplates and why they were worn?

    "Be good, be kind, help each other."
    "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

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

  • #2
    Originally posted by Historian
    Anyone care to volunteer what they may know about the origin of Hairplates and why they were worn?
    ___

    Historian,

    "Awl-hon-gya" is a modern term for money in the Kiowa language.

    Before the Louisiana Purchase, Spain was still in power in the southern plains of what is now Texas.

    The Kiowa fought the Spanish, later the Mexicans and even later the Texans.

    In their raids, they collected coins from the Spanish, Mexicans and Texans.

    Because money was not originally a part of Indian culture, at first, it did not have monetary value. However, it did have aesthetic value. When pounded out, was used as hair ornaments by the Kiowa and other tribes.

    The larger coins were pounded out into disks and were then imprinted with tribal designs - a technique that is still in use today by the Kiowa and other tribes. This artform is the signature of Southern Plains metalwork.

    These imprinted coins were mounted on leather and tied to the scalp lock of Kiowa warriors. They extended down the length of the wearer's back, to their heels.

    Today, these "Awl-hon-gya hairplates" are no longer tied to the scalp but are fastened to the neck of Kiowa traditional dancers.

    Silver coins are no longer used. Metalwork artisans now use German and nickel silver to make this style of "dragger."
    Last edited by WhoMe; 11-10-2004, 03:22 PM.
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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    • #3
      Very Interesting

      WhoMe,
      Very interesting. I had not heard that information before. Might you have any information regarding why the hairplates were worn down the back? Among the Kiowa or any other tribe?

      "Be good, be kind, help each other."
      "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

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

      Comment

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