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A true status symbol, bone breastplates were originally worn as armor, for protection in battle and while hunting. Breastplates and chokers are traditionally and historically hand crafted from hair-pipe bone, the use of which dates back as far as can be remembered. Long hair pipe beads are made from various animals’ bones; by carving out the marrow, they could be used for necklaces, chokers, breastplates, and even earrings. From the early 1800’s, colonial traders introduced glass and copper to breastplate and choker designs.

In the warm climate of the Southwest, breastplates were worn over the bare chest. In winter and in colder climates, they were worn over a leather shirt. The Plains Indians were famous for the enormous workmanship that went into creating breastplates. Tribes often had a specialist who made a variety of breastplates. Native warriors on vision quests often dreamed about a certain type of breastplate, which their specialist would then make for them. Many believed that, by wearing one made by a certain gifted person or in a specific fashion, a spiritual advantage could be obtained during battles or hunts. Most breastplate makers were aides to medicine men and shaman, or they were medicine men themselves. Rarely would Native Americans make their own breastplate, if it was to have great spiritual power.

Among many Native American tribes, breastplates are still a symbol of status. In the past they were originally worn for protection, but nowadays, breastplates are mostly used in dances and ceremonies. Native Peoples did not recognize the notion of land ownership; the land belonged to all, and was to be used with respect. Therefore, they took great pride in their personal possessions, and their breastplates formed a vital part of their wealth. The first types of breastplates were functional and plain by design. Breastplates today are worn as regalia and for ceremonies, and are therefore much more embellished and adorned.

This stunning Shaman’s breastplate was hand made the old fashioned way. 34 rows of 4” hair pipe “red bone” beads are strung on sinew, with natural 2.5” elk bone hair pipe in the center. To offset the blazing bright red of the bone, we used hundreds of 90 year old, hand made, glass cobalt beads, which magically turn translucent in natural sunlight, giving the entire piece an air of mystical beauty. Long deer leather strips and brass tire beads are used as spacers. Soft, natural colored leather lace is used as fringe and decorated with brass and cobalt beads. 4 strands of lace are braided together to create very strong but luxuriously comfortable neck straps. Abalone shells and blonde horse hair tassels with feathers adorn this sophisticated breastplate, perfect for ceremonial use and for dances. It will also make an eye-catching wall decoration in any decor, as well as an awe-inspiring addition to any collection.

Native American Inspired Design Breastplate - Shaman's Vision


Only 1 available


  • Handmade item
  • Materials: red bone, hair pipe bone, abolone, antique glass beads, cobalt beads, brass tire beads, sinew, deer leather, leather lace, horse hair, feathers, toggles, leather braids
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 71 reviews
  • Favorited by: 144 people