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George Catlin
Arikara Village of Earth-covered Lodges, 1600 Miles above St. Louis, 1832
Arikara/Sahnish
oil
11 1/4 x 14 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.


“Plate 80 gives a view of the Ricaree village, which is beautifully situated on the west bank of the river, 200 miles below the Mandans; and built very much in the same manner; being constituted of 150 earth-covered lodges, which are in part surrounded by an imperfect and open barrier of pickets set firmly in the ground, and ten or twelve feet in height.

“This village is built upon an open prairie, and the gracefully undulating hills that rise in the distance behind it are everywhere covered with a verdant green turf, without a tree or a bush anywhere to be seen. This view was taken from the deck of the steamer when I was on my way up the river” (Letters and Notes, vol. 1, p. 204, pl. 80).

Painted in 1832 on Catlin's Missouri River voyage. Ewers notes that the earth lodges are probably too regular in size and shape. A brief drawing of the lodges, apparently unrelated to the painting, appears in the SI sketchbook.

The scene is repeated in cartoon 135 (unlocated).



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