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Ta-wáh-que-nah, Mountain of Rocks, Second Chief of the Tribe

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. 1985.66.47 Not currently on view


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In 1834, George Catlin accompanied a regiment of United States Dragoons to visit the territory of the Comanche, Kiowa, and Wichita. Catlin later remembered being received by Comanche chief Mountain of Rocks “with great kindness at his village.” He described the chief as “the largest and fattest Indian I ever saw . . . A perfect personation of Jack Falstaff, in size and in figure, with an African face, and a beard on his chin of two or three inches in length. His name . . . he got from having conducted a large party of Camanchees through a secret and subterraneous passage, entirely through the mountain of granite rocks, which lies back of their village; thereby saving their lives from their more powerful enemy.” Ta-wáh-que-nah sat for his portrait at a Comanche village in 1834. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 42, 1841, reprint 1973, and 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Comanche

Portrait male - Mountain of Rocks

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added