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Mah-táhp-ta-a, Rushes through the Middle, a Brave

1832 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. 1985.66.130 Not currently on view

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“The Mandans (or See-pohs-kah-nu-mah-kah-kee, ‘people of the pheasants,’ as they call themselves), are perhaps one of the most ancient tribes of Indians in our country. Their origin, like that of all the other tribes is from necessity, involved in mystery and obscurity . . . They take great pride in relating their traditions, with regard to their origin; contending that they were the first people created on earth. Their existence in these regions has not been from a very ancient period; and, from what I could learn of their traditions, they have, at a former period, been a very numerous and powerful nation; but by the continual wars which have existed between them and their neighbours, they have been reduced to their present numbers.” George Catlin painted this portrait of Rushes through the Middle at a Mandan village in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 11, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ethnic - Indian - Mandan

Portrait male - Rushes Through The Middle


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added