The Beauty of Autumn – Lakota No Face Doll by Diane Tells His Name

How perfect to feature this beautiful lady at this time of year during the gorgeous fall.

The Beauty of Autumn – Lakota No Face Doll
by Diane Tells His Name

The No Face Doll

The No Face doll has its origin in the corn-growing Northeastern tribes as the dolls were traditionally made of cornhusks, with darkened corn silk for the hair.

As legend has it, Corn Spirit, sustainer of life, asked the Creator for more ways to help her people. The Creator formed dolls from her husks, giving the dolls a beautiful face. When the children of the Iroquois pass the dolls from village to village and from child to child, her beauty was proclaimed so often that the corn husk doll became very vain. The Creator disapproved of such behavior and so told the doll that if she was going to continue being part of the culture, she would need to develop humility.

The doll agreed but couldn’t help but admire her own reflection in a creek. The all-seeing Creator, sent a giant screech owl down from the sky to snatch the doll’s reflection from the water. She could no longer see her face or bask in her superior beauty.

So when a Northeast Native American mother gives a doll to her child, it is usually a doll with no face and the mother tells the child the legend of the Corn-Husk doll. Native Americans want their children to value the unique gifts that the Creator has given to each of them, but not to view themselves as superior to another, or to overemphasize physical appearance at the expense of spiritual and community values.

Lakota No Face Doll by Diane Tells His Name – Many Elks Teeth White Hair

The Story of The Beloved Woman of the Lakota:

In the Lakota tradition, brothers were to provide their younger sister with the elk incisors they collected from their elk hunts. This young woman’s brothers were great hunters and she knew she was most beloved when the elk teeth provided by her brothers were more than enough to make the honored elk teeth dress.

Many Elks Teeth with White Hair wore the dress with pride knowing she was beloved among her family and she vowed to honor the oath of Medicine Wheel all her life. The Creator blessed her with a loving and kind husband and many children.

One daughter would wear the elk teeth dress at her wedding many years down the road. Beloved and proud, Many Elk’s Teeth with White Hair is a Diane Tells His Name original creation.

She stands 10 inches tall with an 8 inch armspan.

Her dress is made from black denim adorned with “elk teeth” of white glass beads.

Turquoise glass bead earrings.

Her necklace is made of turquoise trade beads with a genuine turquoise nugget in the center.

Her hair is white horse tail hair. She wears a hair ornament of a white feather plume in a tin cone.

Blanket leggings and beaded moccasins.

ELK MEDICINE: Stamina, strength, nobility, pride, survival, connectedness. Associated tribally for millennia for their sacred manner and walk through life, spirit guidance, and teachings. Revered for their spiritual healing energies, power and courage. Elk tooth is given as totem for long, happy, healthy and prosperous life.

About the Artist – Oglala Lakota Diane-Tells-His-Name

Diane Tells His Name is a (CIB) registered member of the Oglala Lakota tribe of Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

Between December 2004 and February 2005, Diane exhibited her first dolls at the “Spirit of the People, Native American Artist Exhibit” in San Diego, California.

“Medallion Woman” was the doll shown there and she was seen by one of the curators of the Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles (formerly the Gene Autry Museum). The curator asked if the doll could be accessioned into their collection. Having an art piece accessioned into a museum is an honor. It means that it is assigned a museum catalog number and formal information about it and the artist is noted and recorded for historical purposes. The object becomes the properly of the museum. The Western Heritage Museum also accessioned White Feather Fan Dreamer.

After that first exhibit, Diane’s artistic career exploded with offerings of exhibits, shows and dolls accessioned into several museums including the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC; the May Collection at USD in San Diego, and the Barona Cultural Center and Museum on the Barona Indian Museum.

Diane Tells His Name has been an Artistic Judge at the Museum of Man Indian Fair (San Diego) for 5 years. She has exhibited at the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the San Diego Archaeology Center, the Indigenous Women’s Art Faire in San Diego and a several other places.

Diane developed a line of Hudson Bay Dolls for the Autry Museum’s Fur Trader Exhibit.

She has conducted doll workshops and beading classes and continues to create new dolls as the visions and stories come to her. Many of her stories are based on the tales from her Lakota Mother, Bell Tells His Name, as she remembers the stories that her grandparents told her.

Diane Tells His Name is working to have a doll accessioned into the Heard Museum in Phoenix and is working on a doll for the 2011 Red Cloud Indian Show.

Diane currently has over 30 dolls in her collection with many more to come. Her large family of 5 children, 13 grandchildren and over 20 foster children has kept Diane happily busy the past years, but as of 2010, with the children grown and out of the house, she is an artist full-time.

Diane Tells His Name has her dolls in select gift shops and we are proud to be able to offer these beautiful ladies in our webstore here at horsekeeping.com.

Note: A CIB card, otherwise known as a CDIB card, stands for Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood and is issued by the federal government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The No Face Doll

The No Face doll has its origin in the corn-growing Northeastern tribes as the dolls were traditionally made of cornhusks, with darkened corn silk for the hair.

 As legend has it, Corn Spirit, sustainer of life, asked the Creator for more ways to help her people. The Creator formed dolls from her husks, giving the dolls a beautiful face. When the children of the Iroquois pass the dolls from village to village and from child to child, her beauty was proclaimed so often that the corn husk doll became very vain. The Creator disapproved of such behavior and so told the doll that if she was going to continue being part of the culture, she would need to develop humility.

The doll agreed but couldn’t help but admire her own reflection in a creek. The all-seeing Creator, sent a giant screech owl down from the sky to snatch the doll’s reflection from the water. She could no longer see her face or bask in her superior beauty.

So when a Northeast Native American mother gives a doll to her child, it is usually a doll with no face and the mother tells the child the legend of the Corn-Husk doll. Native Americans want their children to value the unique gifts that the Creator has given to each of them, but not to view themselves as superior to another, or to overemphasize physical appearance at the expense of spiritual and community values.

Read more about Corn and Corn Maidens on our blog.

Lakota No Face Dolls

Similar to the Northeaster tribes, the Plains tribes often use No Face dolls to instill humility in their children.

Native American Oglala Lakota No Face doll constructionSince the Great Plains tribe members’ own clothing was often elaborately covered with intricate beadwork, so were the dolls. Lakota Dolls are beautifully adorned and depending on the activity they represent, they can be outfitted with various equipment and items such as baskets, cradleboards or knives and hunting tools.

Lakota Dolls are traditionally made from buckskin. The bodies are stuffed with cattail fluff or buffalo hair. The hair is usually horse hair or buffalo hair.

Why do Native American dolls have long hair? As legend has it, when you die, if you don’t hear your name called, you can’t cross over to the other side. So, just in case you don’t hear your name when it is called, if you have long hair, someone on the other side can grab your long hair and pull you over.

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Native American Dolls – Apache, Lakota, Navajo, No Face

Native American Dolls

Just like with dolls from any culture and time, Native American dolls serve a number of purposes and represent various values and legends. Not all dolls are made for children although some dolls are made specifically for children.

Children’s dolls were not designed to be keepsakes but to be something for the child to actively play with. Often the dolls were made out of corn husks or other organic materials such as wood. The doll would often fall apart by the time the child outgrew the doll. Even so, the dolls were adorned painstakingly with bits of cloth, fur, beads and other adornments. Dolls were used to teach children of the appropriate dress and cultural practices so girls were given cradleboards and sewing supplies with their dolls while boys were given warrior gear, bows and arrows and the like.

Other dolls such as spirit dolls and kachinas were made for a specific person, ceremony, power, totem, entity or prayer.

Spirit Dolls

Spirit dolls are ancient talismans against all negativity and evil. They embody spirits that have gone before, representing their strengths, positive energies, and beauty.

Apache artist, Cynthia Whitehawk creates various Spirit Dolls. Raven Medicine – Ravens carry great responsibility to Spirit and are the messengers of magic and healing from the universe where all knowledge waits for us. Raven also symbolizes changes in consciousness, of levels of awareness and perception. Necklace beads of sky blue turquoise, coral and sterling silver with hand painted bone raven feather pendant. She wears a genuine tiny beaded medicine bag – inside are rare Sacred Arizona Sweet Sage, Sacred Golden Tobacco, and tiny polished clear Quartz gemstones. These contents keep her energy clear, positive and powerful.

Raven Dream Keeper is keeper of the eternal flame of life, Medicine Healing Spirit, Spirit of the Bird Clans. There are several Bird Clans depending on tribal affiliation. The Cherokee Bird Clan are messengers between earth and heaven – between humans and the Creator. The Cherokee Bird Clan has 3 subdivisions: The Raven, Turtle Dove, and Eagle. The Raven, a large Crow, is governed by Crow Medicine. The Crow is the power of the unknown at work – ceremonial magic and healing. Raven Dream Keeper wears a necklace of tiny shell birds for her connectedness to the Bird Clan.

Raven Spirit Doll by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

Grandmother Medicine – Grandmother Shaman guides with the ancient wisdom and practical knowledge, ever the kindest of souls, ever the most helpful, a quieting and soothing presence. Her medicine bag is adorned with coral and turquoise. It contains a rich mixture of smudging herbs and resin, sage and golden tobacco with tiny clear quartz stones.The carved tiny shell birds represent the ancient following of the Bird Clan. The gourd represents the vessels made from gourd, gourds which carried water and food for life. She wears a beaded talisman/amulet which is a carved turquoise bear, silver beads and penn shell heishi.

Crystal Keeper Medicine Woman  – Her necklaces are quartz and silver beads and large natural quartz points. She wears a tiny medicine bag beaded with quartz and silver beads. The bag contains Sacred Sweet Sage, Sacred Golden Tobacco, and tiny polished clear Quartz gemstones. These contents keep her energy clear, positive and powerful.

Grandmother Shaman: Gourd Dance Clan  – Her necklace is of sky blue and coral red old glass beads, silver and a tiny gourd, which represents the rattle made from a gourd in the Gourd Dance Clan.

The Gourd Dance was given to the Kiowa in the 1700s by a red wolf when the Kiowa inhabited the Black Hills and Devils Tower area of South Dakota and Wyoming. The dance was a gift to the Kiowa people and the songs and dances were performed by a specific society until the 1930s – with a good wolf howl at the end of each song in tribute to the red wolf. Thankfullly, before the tradition was lost, some Kiowa elders revived the Gourd Dance in the mid 1950s and officially formed the Gourd Dance Clan.

The No Face Doll

The No Face doll has its origin in the corn-growing Northeastern tribes as the dolls were traditionally made of cornhusks, with darkened corn silk for the hair.

As legend has it, Corn Spirit, sustainer of life, asked the Creator for more ways to help her people. The Creator formed dolls from her husks, giving the dolls a beautiful face. When the children of the Iroquois pass the dolls from village to village and from child to child, her beauty was proclaimed so often that the corn husk doll became very vain. The Creator disapproved of such behavior and so told the doll that if she was going to continue being part of the culture, she would need to develop humility.

The doll agreed but couldn’t help but admire her own reflection in a creek.  The all-seeing Creator, sent a giant screech owl down from the sky to snatch the doll’s reflection from the water. She could no longer see her face or bask in her superior beauty.

Lakota No Face Doll by Diane Tells His Name

So when a Northeast Native American mother gives a doll to her child, it is usually a doll with no face and the mother tells the child the legend of the Corn-Husk doll. Native Americans want their children to value the unique gifts that the Creator has given to each of them, but not to view themselves as superior to another, or to overemphasize physical appearance at the expense of  spiritual and community values.

Read more about Corn and Corn Maidens on our blog.

Lakota No Face Dolls

Similar to the Northeaster tribes, the Plains tribes often use No Face dolls to instill humility in their children.

Since the Great Plains tribe members’ own clothing was often elaborately covered with intricate beadwork, so were the dolls. Lakota Dolls are beautifully adorned and depending on the activity they represent, they can be outfitted with various equipment and items such as baskets, cradleboards or knives and hunting tools.

Beauty of Autumn No Face Lakota Doll by Diane Tells His Name

Lakota Dolls are traditionally made from buckskin. The bodies are stuffed with cattail fluff or buffalo hair.

The hair is usually horse hair or buffalo hair.

Why do Native American dolls have long hair? As legend has it, when you die, if you don’t hear your name called, you can’t cross over to the other side. So, just in case you don’t hear your name when it is called, if you have long hair, someone on the other side can grab your long hair and pull you over.

Navajo Dolls

Meant to resemble Navajo Men and Women in ordinary dress, Navajo dolls are meant to be played with or collected.

Navajo Dolls by Loretta Wood, Navajo aritst

Navajo women are usually outfitted in a cloth dress or skirt and top and embellished with jewelry made of turquoise, silver and shell.

The dress is traditionally made of velvet, cotton or muslin embellished with rick rack trim and cinched with a woven or embroidered sash.

Necklaces are often sewn right onto the dress. Earrings are often beaded loop earrings

Large Vintage Navajo Doll

Men appear in traditional muslin pants, bright colored shirt (often velvet) and a cinched sash like belt.

Hair for the dolls is often made of  mohair, wool or yarn.

The hands are often made of leather. The face is fabric and the facial features are painted on.

Navajo dolls might just be standing or they could be involved in an activity from everyday life such as weaving, cooking, or sewing.

What fun it was to put together this doll article for my first real post back at it !!