that's a very interesting piece, not strictly as you say a ledger art piece, and yet it has all the hallmarks of those kind of works. I'm guessing it's Sioux, certainly the section dealing with the battle scenes would suggest that, the main warrior, the one wearing what looks like an army jacket is shown fighting traditional enemies, namely Pawnee and Crow. On the other hand, other sections look and feel like some of those works made at fort Marion by Kiowa artists. I wonder if there is anyone out there better able to identify the work. The warriors hair styles indicate to me that it is showing events pre the 1880s at least.
Post by kingsleybray on Oct 15, 2008 8:28:56 GMT -5
Grahame, thanks for posting this amazing muslin painting. It's certainly Lakota - the unique structure of the arbor, with a circular shade surrounding an open space is the Lakota Sun Dance lodge. Contrast the smaller covered spaces employed in the Arapaho Offerings Lodge and the Cheyenne New Life Lodge ceremonies. Also the men's society regalia worn by many of the Dancers relates to the Lakota: we have two warbonnet wearers in the Strong Heart (Chante Tinza) society - the horned headdress with the feathers in the trailer lying flat; one possibly from the White Packstrap (Wichiska) society - horned headdress with the upright trailer; and four bonnet and sash wearers from the Miwatani society, distinguished by their owl-, crow-, and eagle-feather headdresses. That's the Lakota equivalent to the Dog 'Soldier' societies of the other Plains tribes. Note that one of the Miwatani officers, with his chest pierced and rope attached to the centre pole, is actually the Chief Dancer in this ceremony. His fellow bonnet wearers have joined him in solidarity, enduring the days of dancing before the Sun, and pledging themselves and the society to generosity at the ceremony. Many of the horses brought in the Lodge will be given away.
The four men seated at the rear of the Lodge, immediately behind the altar and pipe rack, are probably the four Ceremonial Deciders, the holy men presiding over the ceremony and in charge of vamp affairs for the duration of the ceremony. The second seated man from the left, who looks somehow 'older', wearing a headband with a shell (?) attached, is perhaps the chief holy man, the Kuwa Kiyapi or Intercessor. This was the role filled among the Hunkpapa by the famous Black Moon, and before him by Dreamer of the Sun.
Not sure which Lakota tribal division we can ascribe this wonderful painting to: but the presence of Pawnees among the enemy figures (roach hairstyle, ankle-flap moccasins) suggests it's unlikely to be from the more northerly divisions, e.g. Hunkpapa, Sihasapa.
Much more to say - just wish I had the money to bid on this!!!
New Lakota Painting at Art Museum Opens Window into American History
Unidentified Lakota artist, “Sun Dance Ceremony,” ca. 1895. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
"The Bowdoin Museum of Art has recently acquired a striking new work of art — a large Lakota muslin, painted by an unknown artist around 1895. The piece depicts a sun dance, an important religious ceremony that for centuries was observed by many Native Americans of the Great Plains. The dance was performed each summer as a rite of renewal for the community, but was banned by the US government in 1883. The law was not lifted until the 1970s.
The muslin painting, both through the scene it depicts and the story of its provenance, tells a story not only of the history and visual culture of the Lakota people, but also of the US’s inhumane treatment of indigenous people and — despite our government’s actions — the resilience of Native cultures today."
Very interested in your comment Kinsley Bray, "The four men seated at the rear of the Lodge, immediately behind the altar and pipe rack, are probably the four Ceremonial Deciders, the holy men presiding over the ceremony and in charge of vamp affairs for the duration of the ceremony. The second seated man from the left, who looks somehow 'older', wearing a headband with a shell (?) attached, is perhaps the chief holy man, the Kuwa Kiyapi or Intercessor. This was the role filled among the Hunkpapa by the famous Black Moon, and before him by Dreamer of the Sun." Do you have any more about the words for "Ceremonial Deciders" and "Intercessor"? I'm trying a literal translation of "kuwa" meaning "come here" and "kiyapi" meaning "toward" (sourced from Delphine Red Shirt) or "to cause one's own to do something" or "makes him" (also sourced from Delphine Red Shirt). I am working on four of the published writings of George Sword trying to puzzle out the hundreds of words not published in the NLD.