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Nora Foote, an English artist, visited the Blood Reserve in Alberta, Canada, in 1895. This portrait of a woman is one of several she painted there. The woman has wrapped herself in a red blanket, a so-called Point Blanket, sold by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The short black lines visible near her foot were known as ‘points’ and indicated the size of the blanket – the bigger the blanket, the more lines were woven in. The broad black stripes were known as headings. Some of the finger joints on the woman’s left hand have been cut off. This shows that the woman was a widow, her fingers having been cut off as part of a mourning ritual. Widows also cut their hair short, painted their skin and clothes with white clay, and cut themselves.

The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford



Portrait of a Blood Woman




oil on canvas


H 64 x W 54 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift, 1981

Work type



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The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

South Parks Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3PP England

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