The Plains Indians – Musée du Quai Branly

Zin-tka¿-kin-yan (Flying bird), vers 1860-1874. Photographie extraite des albums Photographs of North American Indians by W. H. Jackson, constitués par William Henry Jackson en 1876-1877. Attribué à Antonio Zeno Shindler © musée du quai Branly
Zin-tka¿-kin-yan (Flying bird), vers 1860-1874. Photographie extraite des albums Photographs of North American Indians by W. H. Jackson, constitués par William Henry Jackson en 1876-1877. Attribué à Antonio Zeno Shindler © musée du quai Branly

They call themselves the Cheyenne, Sioux, Blackfoot, Comanche or Pawnee. Names of tribes anchored in our imagination, conveyed by the tales of adventurers and Western films. Going beyond stereotypes, the exhibition’s unique works offers a journey into the life and traditions of these tribes whose stories have enthralled many generations, particularly through their film incarnations by Dustin Hoffman (Little Big Man), Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) or Mathieu Amalric (Jimmy P.).

In a scenographic setting by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the headdresses and personal ornaments of feathers, the painted bison skins, paintings and drawings, clothing of great symbolic value richly ornamented with porcupine spines and glass beads, ceremonial objects and sculptured works in stone, wood, antler and shell all combine to illustrate the aesthetic traditions of the Plains Indians from the 16th to the 20th century.

The exhibition offers the chance to examine daily life in the reserves, religion, the role of men and women in society, the impact of contact with Europeans and Americans, but also the relationship with Nature of these indigenous people who occupied the Great Plains of North America. This vast territory stretches from the Mississippi Basin to the Western Rocky Mountains, and from Rio Grande in southern Texas to the upper branch of the Saskatchewan River, in the centre of Alberta.

The exhibition is also aimed at revealing the continuum of the artistic expression of the Plains Indians – with forms which emerge, continue, evolve, disappear then re-emerge – against a backdrop of ceaseless cultural transformations, until contemporary creations revisiting today the traditional plain Indians iconography.

 Practical information : 

Musée du Quai Branly
Until July 20th

Open : Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday from 11am to 7pm, ticket office closes at 6pm
Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 9pm, ticket office closes at 8pm

Full price : 9 euros
Reduced price : 7 euros

Photo de couverture: Effigie de bison en Quartzite vert. © Collection of Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada

Fourreau de pipe de la  Région ouest des Grands Lacs ou Plaines de l'Ouest Date de l'oeuvre: vers 1800-1820. Catlinite (argile rouge). © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of archeology and Ethnology, Harvard university
Fourreau de pipe de la Région ouest des Grands Lacs ou Plaines de l’Ouest. Catlinite (argile rouge). © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of archeology and Ethnology, Harvard university
Quilled and painted robe / Peau peinte racontant les exploits d'un chef sioux ou mandan lors de guerres entre Arikara, Sioux et Mandan. Peau de bison, piquants de porc-épic. Peinture. © musée du quai Branly, photo Patrick Gries, Valérie Torre
Quilled and painted robe / Peau peinte racontant les exploits d’un chef sioux ou mandan lors de guerres entre Arikara, Sioux et Mandan. Peau de bison, piquants de porc-épic. Peinture. © musée du quai Branly, photo Patrick Gries, Valérie Torre