Art of the American West
Click To Enlarge
Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809–1893),
Piegan Blackfeet Man , 1833
watercolor on paper, 2 3/8 x 10 in.; 31.43 x 25.4 cm
Gift of Enron Art Foundation, 1986.49.290

Plains warriors frequently painted their shirts or robes with symbols of their war exploits. The figures on the elk hide worn by this man suggest that he was very successful in battles and horse raids: blood flows freely from the wounds of many adversaries, and dozens of horseshoes represent animals stolen. These important accomplishments were a principal standard of success for Plains men, and a major prerequisite for achieving leadership in the community. Only those who earned these honors had the right to display them. Bodmer met this individual on the Missouri River frontier in 1833.

Art Work Info Divider