Lakota horse mask back on museum display

The Lakota horse mask.
The Lakota horse mask. © Ned Martin / Wyoming State Museum, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

A Lakota horse mask has gone back on display at Wyoming State Museum following recent conservation and stabilization work.

Fewer than 50 historical masks are known to exist,  and the Wyoming State Museum’s Lakota mask is unique due to its large size. It is fully beaded.

Loose beadwork, lining and other elements were repaired in the mask.

The work was made possible by a grant from the Greenwood Fund, part of the Denver Foundation.

“The mask is notable for its size and fully beaded patriotic design,” curator Mandy Langfald said.

It can be viewed in the Barber Native American Gallery of the Wyoming State Museum.

The mask was donated to the museum in 1958. It is made from buffalo hide, weighs 10.5 pounds and is believed to have been made near the turn of the 20th century.

Horse masks were made to decorate Indian mounts, a practice that some believe may have started when the native Americans saw the armoured horses of the Spanish conquistadors.


The Lakota horse mask on display.
The Lakota horse mask on display.

One thought on “Lakota horse mask back on museum display

  • February 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Horse head masks are halarious – they freak peeps out 100% of the time.


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