Buffalo Dancers

Maker and role
Artist: Tonita Peña, New Mexican, San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1893-1949
ca. 1930
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Object detail

Watercolor on paper
11 1/8 x 14 1/8in (28.3 x 35.9cm)
Credit line
Bequest of Marion Koogler McNay
Accession number
Further information
Animal Dances, such as the Buffalo Dance, are usually performed in Winter as a prayer for the increase of that particular animal. Tonita Peña's depiction shows the adornments of the Buffalo Dancers, from the earth brown paint on their bodies, to the conical tin pieces attached to the bottom of their kilts. These ornaments, combined with the melodic vibrations of the rattles and drums, provide compelling visual and sound effects.

Buffalo Maidens, impersonating the mothers of the game animals, appear in hand-woven dresses embroidered at top and bottom.


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