From the Vault: A:shiwi (Zuni) Wedding Boots

Take a peek into our 14,000+ collection with our blog series, From the Vault! Every other week, we're sharing interesting stories about one of our artefacts.

What is the provenance of this pair? When did they enter the BSM collection?

This pair of A:shiwi (Zuni) women’s wedding boots entered the collection in 1980 and was acquired by Mrs. Bata.

Are there any features that distinguish this pair from other boots from the same period and geographical location?

Traditionally, a A:shiwi bridegroom was responsible for making the wedding boots to be worn by his bride.

Can you elaborate more on the materials used to make this pair?

The soles of these boots are made from durable raw hide molded into shape and then dried. The uppers and shafts are made out of white deerskin. Each boot features shafts made using one complete deerskin that wraps around the leg and is held in place by deerskin ties. Wedding boots required that the bridegroom make his stitches invisible to the eye and that he sew the soles to the uppers without turning the boots inside out. This difficult requirement made the creation of wedding boots a true test of skill and devotion.

Who would have worn this pair and where or for what occasion?

The boots would be worn by a new bride.

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