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Montana Plains Tipi - Sphinx Mountain Saddlery, Ennis,

Montana Plains Tipi - Sphinx Mountain Saddlery, Ennis,


Montana Plains Tipi

Pen & Ink on Antique Map

Sphinx Mountain Saddlery, Ennis, and Montana


The Sioux word tipi literally translates as "used to live in." The tipi, also referred to as a lodge, represents the heart of Plains culture. It facilitated each tribe’s nomadic way of life and was the center of social, religious, and creative traditions. Symbolically the tipi holds special significance among different nations across North America.


In the Dakota teachings, the floor of the tipi represents the earth on which we live, the walls represent the sky and the poles represent the trails that extend from the earth to the spirit world. The tipi doors always faced the East because this was the direction of the rising sun and was opposite the prevailing wind. A place of honour for the owner of the tipi or the oldest man was located opposite the entrance.


Some tribes have a rich culture of painting their tipis to depict their symbiotic relationship with the natural world. Illustrations of animals such as buffalo, bears, deer, elk, otters, and various birds often adorned the walls of tipis. Some tipis were painted with designs that included geometric shapes, legends, and battle scenes. Women usually made, erected, dismantled, and maintained tipis, but men painted the designs.


This piece can be purchased at Sphinx Mountain Saddlery, Ennis, and Montana.

I have combined antique maps with my version of stippling into my own creative perspectives. The background for this drawing of Plains Indian Tipi is on an original map of Montana, showing the reservations of the time and was published in 1892 in a Geo. F. Cram Mast, Atlas. It measures 13 X 21 inches and is framed with patinaed copper to a 21 X 29.

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