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The shield was is made by the Lakota Sioux in 1960's as a reproduction of the real turtle shield long ago used by their tribe in battle. This shield is hidedecorated with imitation eagle feathers and brass bells. It is approximately 21” diameter and has a leather strap on the back to hold in battle. I originally bought this in South Dakota at the Prairie Edge for $300, in 1961. It has hung on a wall of Sioux relics since that time.
The turtle was honored because its shell symbolized protection, good health and long life. Because the shell was thought to safeguard particularly at close range, turtle amulets were found near infants and actual shells were attached to some combat shields.
Melvin Miner, a dedicated artist, craftsman, was the artist who created this shield. He passed away last December. None of these will ever be made again.
An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Melvin was a versatile artist best known for his traditional weaponry - lances, spears, war axes, and clubs - as well as painted buffalo robes, dance sticks, staffs, shields, and rattles.
His meticulous attention to detail and superior craftsmanship, coupled with his deep devotion to traditional Lakota beliefs earned him a reputation as a prominent figure among art collectors, fellow artists, and his friends at Prairie Edge.
Melvin Miner was born in Igloo, SD on August 4, 1956. He attended the University of South Dakota where he specialized in Indian Studies. In his early 20s, he was encouraged to pursue his artistic aspirations by celebrated artist Charles Fast Horse and the late artist and spiritual leader Sydney Keith - he credited these two outstanding leaders for inspiring him to create in the traditional Lakota way.
Melvin was always the teacher to the children, always a true spokesman for Lakota culture and honor and maybe most of all, always a great friend for all of those who were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with and to know Melvin Miner.
Returns accepted. This is the real thing and more beautiful than the photo's show.