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Untitled (American Indian Woman)

ca. 1850-1890 Unidentified carved softwood with traces of paint and stain and metal 48 3/4 x 16 3/4 x 16 1/4 in. (123.8 x 42.5 x 41.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.384 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing


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The decline of the shipbuilding industry in the nineteenth century led many shipcarvers to turn to making shop figures. The most popular of these were cigar store Indians, which stood outside tobacco shops. The symbol of a Native American commonly appeared to advertise tobacco, which was discovered in the New World. The popularity of the figures declined by the end of the nineteenth century, however, with the introduction of electrical store signs and anti-sidewalk-obstruction laws.

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian

Figure female - full length

sculpture

folk art

metal - iron

wood