Shields were pieces of men’s essential equipment in the
traditional culture and religion of the Plains Indians
of North America. They were used from prehistoric times
until the turn of the 20th century. Ethnohistorical
sources prove that shields were not only used
as weaponry accouterments such as armor. They were also
used as religious objects.
For the Plains Indians, one of the most powerful and
remarkable animal was the grizzly bear. The significance
of the bear has played a particularly important role as
a physically strong and awesome but also wise animal.
Bear motifs are an imposing aspect of Plains Indian art.
The aim of this study is to examine the Plains Indian
shields with bear power motifs and the meaning of the
bear as well as to discuss methods for studying
With the present survey, the internationally known
scholar Riku Hämäläinen of the University of Helsinki,
Finland increases our knowledge and understanding of
the significance of bear symbolism of Plains Indian
This volume is the author’s Ph. D. work, a worldwide
Format 10.5x8.5 inches ( (26.5x21 cm). 156 pp. 54 figs.
in color + 2 maps.
Euro 50 / US-$