Wedding Preparations by Martin Grelle



The idea for this painting came from reading a passage in George Bird Grinnells book on the Cheyenne Indians, volume 1. This paragraph is a small part of his description of wedding activities: When the girl set out she was dressed in fine new clothing, but after she had been taken into her mother-in-laws lodge, the sisters or cousins of her husband took her to the back of the lodge, removed the clothing that she wore, and dressed her in new clothing they had made, combing and rebraiding her hair, painting her face, and hanging about her various ornaments as gifts. I have taken artistic license on one part of the painting as I have shown her to have a red ribbon wrap on her braided hair. Traditionally, Cheyenne women did not wrap their braids, but I thought it added an extra interaction between the girl and her helper, who has the ribbon in her hands and is preparing to wrap the second braid and I considered it as part of the ornaments given as gifts. The buffalo skull sits in the traditional position of the lodge used as an altar, and is sitting on a bed of sage. Various other items adorn the lodge, including storage bags and parfleche cases, a willow backrest, a tin trade cup, etc. The small beaded pouch hanging from the brides belt, in the shape of a turtle, holds her umbilical cord a tradition among many Northern Plains Indian tribes. The cord was dried and placed in the pouch after the childs birth, and was kept throughout their lifetime.