Important Pair of Ojibwa Mide'wiwin Love Figures

Cottonwood, pigment
Circa: 1840
Size: 6" (oah)
These rare Woodlands figures were used by the Mide'wiwin or "Grand Medicine Society" of the Ojibwa Indians. As part of a ceremony for attracting a marriage partner, the figures would be tied face to face and mixed with “love powder” in a bag.

Excerpted from: THE MIDĒ ́WIWIN OR “GRAND MEDICINE SOCIETY” OF THE OJIBWA, by W. J. Hoffman. “This love powder is held in high esteem, and its composition is held a profound secret, to be transmitted only when a great fee is paid. It consists of the following ingredients: Vermilion; powdered snakeroot and a piece of ginseng cut from the bifurcation of the root, and powdered.”

Provenance: Trotta-Bono; Channing, Dale and Throckmorton; Marvill Collection; Private

Literature: American Indian Art, Spring 1992, full page inside cover.

Related examples: Denver Art Museum, 1946.265, 1946.266 for a near identical pair; Logan Museum of Anthropology, Albert Green Heath Collection, Beloit, WI, pair of like figures; The American Museum of Natural History, 50 / 5695 N, small female form medicine figure.


Condition: Excellent, maintaining a great surface and color, small losses to feet.

Price: SOLD