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Comanche Indians Chasing Buffalo with Lances and Bows

1846-1848 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. 1985.66.564 Not currently on view


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George Catlin enjoyed and documented buffalo hunts with various tribes, describing methods such as the exhilarating but dangerous chase on horseback, the surround, and the ambush, in which hunters crept among the unsuspecting herds disguised under the skin of a white wolf for a close and easy shot. During the 1830s, many Indians still used the ambush, but the acquisition of the horse centuries before had transformed their hunting methods. The tribes could now hunt with less danger to themselves as well as greater hope of success. Catlin considered the Comanche the best of all the Plains horsemen.

Keywords

Animal - buffalo

Animal - horse

Ethnic - Indian - Comanche

Figure(s) in exterior - frontier

Occupation - hunter

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added