The horse quirt is both a useful tool and a decorative device that compliments the finery of a well-dressed rider. This example illustrates the rich variety of trade material available to the maker of this quirt. The elk antler used for the handle was selected and shaped to resemble a swan or crane. Slits were cut above the “beak”
to represent nostrils, with brass tacks inserted for eyes. Red
wool trade cloth represents a throat band. A rawhide
strap is attached through a series of holes making a strap handle.
Other decorative elements include blue, yellow, white and green
glass beads, brass tacks, a rare green elk molar, four regular
elk molars, a bear claw and three feathers.
Elk antler (Cervus elaphus), buckskin, grass. L 54 cm.
Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 300