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Máh-to-tóh-pa, Four Bears, Second Chief, in Full Dress, 1832
Mandan/Numakiki
oil
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

"No tragedian," Catlin wrote, "ever trod the stage, nor gladiator ever entered the Roman Forum, with more grace and manly dignity" than did Four Bears as he arrived for his sitting. He wore embroidered deerskin leggings and a shirt decorated with pictographic accounts of his war feats. His headdress of eagle feathers and ermine was crowned with buffalo horns, which convey his "exceeding valour, worth, and power." Catlin rewarded him with a splendid likeness that is one of the most influential American portraits ever painted.


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