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Between and Mortarboard

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Nez Percé Babe

Accession Number

Nez Percé Babe

Edward S. Curtis

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
photogravure on paper

21 7/16 in x 17 5/16 in (54.5 cm x 44 cm);24 1/8 in x 20 1/8 in (61.28 cm x 51.12 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Stephen M. Taylor

Subject matter
This photograph depicts a Nez Percé baby in a cradleboard. These carrying devices were made from wood planks, covered in laced pouches of tanned hide or canvas. They were stuffed with soft material such as moss, cattail, or milkweed. These were often attached to the mother's back or attached to a saddle when riding horses. In this photograph, the cradleboard and pack line are adorned with floral motifs. 

This image is from The North American Indian (1907 - 1930), a twenty-volume series created by Edward Curtis in order to document the lives of Native Americans in diverse regions of the Western United States. This limited edition volume was financially supported by J.P. Morgan, and promoted by Theodore Roosevelt. The resulting works have been criticized and celebrated for their portrayal of Native American life. Curtis often included anachronous props and clothing and presented rituals that had not been performed in years in order to support an idealized and romantic reading of a “vanishing race.”

Physical Description
This is a portrait of a baby in a cradleboard, taken against a dark backdrop. The baby is tied into the carrying device, which is decorated with floral motifs. A patterned blanket is draped around the base of the cradleboard.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Native American
Nez Perce (language)
baby slings
flower (motif)
modern and contemporary art
single-sitter portraits

& Author Notes

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