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George Catlin
Téh-tóot-sah (Better Known as Tohausen, Little Bluff), First Chief
1834
oil
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.



Téh-tóot-sah, the head chief of the Kiowa, is described by 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.