An Extraordinary Ojibwa Pictographic Textile

Yarn on linen
Circa: 1900-1920
Size: 28" (w) x 28" (h)
The Ojibwa and other Native tribes have a long history of using pictographic imagery for storytelling—from medicine scrolls, spirit sticks and in many instances ledger drawings of the Plains Indian tribes.

An old label, attached to the textile, reads, “This is an Indian prayer rug used by the Ojibway and presented by one of the Indians as a friendly and protective offering for kindness received. — E. G. G.”

Though this rare textile is misidentified as a prayer rug (the Ojibway were not weavers) and it is not known if the full textile has any narrative, we may infer that the figures on the upper left may represent Ms. Gustin and the father of the Ojibwa child who may have created the textile for Guston (possibly for religious instruction). The stylized headdresses are quite remarkable and I love the image of the Indian child standing atop the horse.

The Rev. Ellen G. Guston was a strongly spoken preacher, a pioneer woman suffragists and President of the Women’s Board of Foreign Missions. In 1877, Gustin was part of a “small but radical Christian denomination, [and] preached a series of revivals in Westerly, Rhode Island [and] caused such a commotion that her preaching got national attention.”

Provenance: Rev. Ellen Grant Gustin (1836-1924) of Attleboro, MA.


Condition: Excellent. Archivally mounted and framed.

Price: $12,500.00