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Téh-tóot-sah (better known as Tohausen, Little Bluff), First 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. 1985.66.62 Not currently on view


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Téh-tóot-sah, the head chief of the Kiowa, was described by George Catlin as “a very gentlemanly and high minded man, who treated the dragoons and officers with great kindness while in his country. His long hair, which was put up in several large clubs and ornamented with a great many silver broaches, extended quite down to his knees.” Catlin’s ability to see Indians as “gentlemanly and high minded,” when so many other white Americans saw them only as uncivilized, may reflect the strong influence of Enlightenment ideas in Philadelphia during Catlin’s youth. Catlin painted Téh-tóot-sah at a Comanche village in 1834. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 43, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Kiowa

Occupation - other - chief

Portrait male - Little Bluff - waist length

Portrait male - Teh Toot Sah - waist length

Portrait male - Tohausen - waist length

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added