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Archery of the Mandan

1835-1837 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (49.7 x 70.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.435 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

“I have seen a fair exhibition of their archery this day, in a favourite amusement which they call the ‘game of the arrow,’ where the young men who are the most distinguished in this exercise, assemble on the prairie at a little distance from the village, and having paid, each one, his ‘entrance-fee,’ such as a shield, a robe, a pipe, or other article, step forward in turn, shooting their arrows into the air, endeavouring to see who can get the greatest number flying in the air at one time, thrown from the same bow.” George Catlin probably made the initial sketches for this work in 1832 at a Mandan village. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 20, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ethnic - Indian - Mandan

Figure group - male

Figure group - male

Recreation - sport and play - archery


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added