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About the Indigenous American Art Collection

The Cincinnati Art Museum has been acquiring Indigenous American objects since its formation in 1881. Since then, the passions of collectors have led to donations of works representing multiple cultures and tribes from across the United States. The earliest pieces given to the museum were from local archaeological sites, but by 1888 the first pieces representing the Northwest Coast and Alaska were added to the collection. These were followed by objects from the Southwest, the Great Plains, California and Mexico. Many of these are excellent examples of art and design found in pottery, musical instruments, clothing and decorative artworks that date from the eleventh century BCE to the twentieth century CE.

These artworks are not currently on display, but the museum is planning to respectfully display these collections in the future by working directly with Indigenous communities in ways that forefront and amplify their voices within the museum.

View Indigenous American Art Collection


Featured Objects

stone carving of a simple bird figure Birdstone

Birdstone, 1500–500 BCE, late Archaic or early Woodland period, slate, Gift of Judge Joseph Cox, 1888.512

a dark, rectangular carved stone tablet Engraved Tablet (Waverly Tablet)

Engraved Tablet (Waverly Tablet), 2nd half of the 1st millennium BCE, early Woodland period, siltstone, Gift of Mrs. William M. Galt, 1939.140

black and white blanket with fringe Chilkat Ceremonial Dance Blanket

Tlingit artist, Chilkat Ceremonial Dance Blanket, mid- to late 19th century, mountain goat wool, cedar bark fiber, otter fur and dyes, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. W. W. Seely, 1888.282

a large white ceramic jar with dark animal figures painted in rows Water Jar (Olla)

Zuni Pueblo artist, Water Jar (Olla), circa 1875, earthenware, white slip and pigments, Gift of the Women’s Art Association, 1885.48

a painting of two dancers with ceremonial regalia leaning to the right Buffalo Dancers

Awa Tsireh (American, 1898–1955), Buffalo Dancers, 20th century, pen and black ink and watercolor, Gift of Amelia Elizabeth White, 1937.616

a red rectangular weaving with parallel white and red lines and triangles in the corners and centers of each side Weaving, Third Phase Chief’s Blanket

Navajo artist, Weaving, Third Phase Chief’s Blanket, 1920–30, wool, Gift of Amelia Elizabeth White, 1937.571