Archery of the Mandan

  • George Catlin, Archery of the Mandan, 1835-1837, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.435

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“I have seen a fair exhibition of their archery this day, in a favourite amusement which they call the ‘game of the arrow,’ where the young men who are the most distinguished in this exercise, assemble on the prairie at a little distance from the village, and having paid, each one, his ‘entrance-fee,’ such as a shield, a robe, a pipe, or other article, step forward in turn, shooting their arrows into the air, endeavouring to see who can get the greatest number flying in the air at one time, thrown from the same bow.” George Catlin probably made the initial sketches for this work in 1832 at a Mandan village. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 20, 1841; reprint 1973)

Archery of the Mandan
On View
Not on view.
19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (49.7 x 70.0 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Figure group – male
  • Ethnic – Indian – Mandan
  • Recreation – sport and play – archery
Object Number
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