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Tchung-kee, a Mandan Game Played with a Ring and Pole

1832-1833 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. 1985.66.431 Not currently on view


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“The game of Tchung-kee [is] a beautiful athletic exercise, which [the Mandan] seem to be almost unceasingly practicing whilst the weather is fair, and they have nothing else of moment to demand their attention. This game is decidedly their favourite amusement, and is played near to the village on a pavement of clay, which has been used for that purpose until it has become as smooth and hard as a floor . . . The play commences with two (one from each party), who start off upon a trot, abreast of each other, and one of them rolls in advance of them, on the pavement, a little ring of two or three inches in diameter, cut out of a stone; and each one follows it up with his ‘tchung-kee’ (a stick of six feet in length, with little bits of leather projecting from its sides of an inch or more in length), which he throws before him as he runs, sliding it along upon the ground after the ring, endeavouring to place it in such a position when it stops, that the ring may fall upon it, and receive one of the little projections of leather through it.” George Catlin made this sketch at a Mandan village in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 19, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Mandan

Figure group - male

Recreation - sport and play - Tchung Kee

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added