The Traveler, 48 x 24, oil on linen
Breastplates had originally been worn as armor and for protection in both battle and hunting.
Later breastplates became a status symbol among many Native Americans.
About the year 1880 the Plains Indians began to obtain a cheaper and much less fragile hair pipe.
Trader Joseph H. Sherburne's first year of trade with the Ponca, had among his wares a quantity of corncob pipes. The corncob bowls were equipped with bone stems. These pipes sold readily but without comment from the Indians. Upon his next trip to the Ponca, Mr. Sherburne found the corncob pipes in great demand. White Eagle, chief of the tribe, showed him an elaborate neck ornament made of the bone stems of the pipes strung on buckskin thongs. He wanted more pipestems in quantity. This began the commerical trade of the 'hair pipe'.