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Tchong-tas-sáb-bee, Black Dog, Second Chief

1834 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.31 Not currently on view


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“Amongst the chiefs of the Osages, and probably the next in authority and respect in the tribe [to Cler-mónt], is Tchong-tas-sab-bee, the black dog, whom I painted also at full length, with his pipe in one hand, and his tomahawk in the other; his head shaved, and ornamented with a beautiful crest of deers' hair, and his body wrapped in a huge mackinaw blanket. This dignitary, who is blind in the left eye, is one of the most conspicuous characters in all this country, rendered so by his huge size . . . as well as by his extraordinary life. The Black Dog is familiarly known to all the officers of the army, as well as to Traders and all other white men . . . and I believe, admired and respected by most of them. His height, I think, is seven feet; and his limbs full and rather fat, making his bulk formidable, and weighing, perhaps, some 250 or 300 pounds. This man is chief of one of the three bands of the Osages, divided as they are into three families; occupying, as I before said, three villages, denominated ‘Clermont's Village,’ ‘Black Dog's Village,’ and ‘White Hair's Village.’” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 38, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Osage

Portrait male - Black Dog

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added