Opening the Sacred Bundle

The sacred medicine bundle was the most holy of holies among all the Plains Indians. Stewardship of these bundles was usually vested in a member of a tribal clan or cult, although the power of the bundle was believed to be beneficial to the entire tribe or band. The bundles were opened on specific occasions, and according to precise ritual. Each bundle contained a varied collection of objects and representations of spiritual significance, from animal skins and effigies to ceremonial pipes. Most medicine bundles had been passed down from one keeper to another over such a long span of time that their origins had become shrouded in mystery and myth. 

 Opening the Sacred Bundle
This was the first canvas reproduction of a Howard Terpning original oil
published by The
Greenwich Workshop
Released as a Limited Edition textured canvas in Sept 1995
edition size: 550     Stretched size 33¼" x 22¾"

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Originally this was going to be the focal point of my submissions for last year's (1994) Cowboy Artists show. But as I worked on it, I realized that this image was more important to me than almost any other in recent memory. So when it came time to prepare it for the exhibition I decided, with my wife's support, to keep it. It now holds a special place of honor in our living room.

The headdress of the figure opening the bundle may be familiar to you. It is the same one worn by the subject of Talking Robe, which is the painting I created to replace this one at the Cowboy Artists' show.

gallery index of Howard Terpning
related link Medicine Man of the Cheyenne


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