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Is-sa-wáh-tám-ah, Wolf Tied with Hair, a 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. 1985.66.50 Not currently on view

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George Catlin described the subject as holding a “pipe in his hand,” and went on to detail the intricate ritual of pipe-smoking among Native Americans: “As smoking is a luxury so highly valued by the Indians, they have bestowed much pains, and not a little ingenuity, to the construction of their pipes. Of these I have procured a collection of several hundreds, and have given facsimile outlines of a number of the most curious. The bowls of these are generally made of the red steatite, or ‘pipe-stone’ (as it is more familiarly called in this country), and many of them designed and carved with much taste and skill, with figures and groups in alto relievo, standing or reclining upon them.” Catlin painted this image of Wolf Tied with Hair at a Comanche village in 1834. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 29, 1841, reprint 1973, and 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition)


Ethnic - Indian - Comanche

Portrait male - Wolf Tied with Hair


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added