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COURTING: Two Women Face Two Men in “Skunk” Blankets; HUNTING SCHENE: Man in Red Shirt Lances Buffalo

Ethnographic Notes

Right: Four profiled figures are two women, in the dominant right-hand position, facing two men, in the left-hand position. Both women have faces painted with a half-circle between cheeks and hairline, a social pattern recognized by Cowdrey (1999: 236-8, plate B, figs. e-f). One woman has a red-plaid blanket with fringes; the other has a solid blue blanket. The women's leggings are yellow to indicate, probably, buckskin colored yellow. The woman in the blue has three stripes around her ankles. The other woman has leggings decorated with circular ornaments, perhaps small German silver conchos, running up the front of her leggings in a vertical line. The men wear “skunk” blankets (Cowdrey 1999: 75), a courting blanket made of “two pieces of white-selvedge trade cloth sewn together. This produced a double-width wrap, with a broad white stripe down the center” (Cowdrey). This white stripe runs down his back. (See Arrow’s Elk Society Ledger on PILA for examples). The men have no facepaint. The man in the black blanket has an ornament of German silver hairplates mounted on a long strip of red cloth. This is tied to his scalplock and reaches to the ground. His braids are tied with red cloth. He wears leggings made of red stroud trade cloth with white selvedge edges showing as a vertical stripe. His breechcloth is made of matching material. The man in a red blanket has black braids and black breechclout and leggings showing below the blanket. A stripe made from undyed selvedge edges of trade cloth runs vertically up each legging. Media: Lead pencil outlines and details; red watercolor, pencil fill, blue crayon, yellow crayon. Left: HUNTING. A man in a red shirt on a red horse lances a buffalo. The quirt applied to the horse and the apparent motion of the breechclout flaps imply motion. The warrior is outlined in pencil with shirt colored red with watercolor. His head is a simple pencil outline, with no hair or features. He holds a quirt in his left hand (right-hand for the viewer) and a lance in the other hand. His dark leg is visible against the horse, as well as both breech clout flaps, in motion. The lance, drawn in pencil, has five circular ornaments spaced along its shaft, probably made of clipped feathers (Langford, 2003: 190) and an immature golden eagle feather attached to the butt end; a tuft of red cloth is attached to the feather’s tip. The invisible blade is behind the bison or buried in its flesh. The lance’s ornamentation is unusual in this ledger. The horse has a small head, pricked ears, and unbound tail. Its body is filled with red water color. Its front legs are outlined in pencil and visible under the buffalo, to give the X-ray view that the rider is chasing behind the buffalo. The buffalo is outlined in pencil with black ink pressed by hand into its body, with thumbprints visible. Penciled details are horns, center of eye, split hooves, and shaggy fur on forelegs. No wounds show. Media: Lead pencil outlines and details; black ink, smudged, with fingerprints visible; red watercolor

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The cover inscription reads: "Pictures drawn by Wild Hog and other northern Cheyenne Indian Chiefs while in th...

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Document Info
Plate No: 37
Page No: 70-71
Media: Lead pencil, ink, watercolor
Dimensions: 3.25 x 5 in (8.5 x 12.75 cm)
Kansas Historical Society/kansasmemory.org
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