Beltrami’s cradles: Not One, but Three. Notes on some items in the Beltrami’s Collections

In 2021 I wrote Beltrami’s Cradleboard and Other Stories. Beltrami’s is the Oldest Preserved Dakota Cradleboard in the World, an updated version of the article La culla di Beltrami e altre storie, published in Italian in 1993.The examples of cradles of the Eastern Sioux in the literature made me believe that the two pieces in the Caffi Museum, n. 12 and n. 15, and the two “belts” of Filottrano were parts of the same artifact of the cradleboard type, which the Santee Sioux still used at the time when Beltrami visited the area. I was of the opinion that the objects divided between the Beltrami collection at the museum ‘E. Caffi’ of Bergamo and the Luchetti collection of Filottrano formed a single artifact, that is, a cradle of the type called cradleboard. Actually, I had identified a number of objects that had been divided as belonging to the cradle category. Recently, we could take photos not only of the Bergamo pieces, but also new and better photos of the Filottrano pieces, in order to make the replica for the museum. Christian Feest has correctly questioned my thesis on the existence of a Beltrami cradle, based on his photos of pieces in the collection that showed various discrepancies. In conclusion, the Filottrano and Bergamo binders belong to two different toy cradles, the cradle bands in Bergamo belong to a full-size cradle, the Filottrano ‘strap’ or ‘head frame decoration’ is made of a number of pieces that were cut off, and might belong to a fourth cradle.