Black Knife, also known as Baishan, or by his Spanish name, Cuchillo Negro, was a celebrated Apache chief. His raids on Mexico made him a nominal ally of U.S. army battalions sent to the area following the outbreak of the Mexican War (1846−−48). The Apache sought to protect their ancestral lands, which had become disputed territories between Mexico and the United States.
In 1845, John Mix Stanley joined Colonel Stephen Watts Kearny’s expedition through Santa Fe to California to put down Mexican uprisings. In late October 1846 Kearny’s troops encountered Black Knife, here seen scouting the position of the army troops, near what is now the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. In the distance, Stanley portrays the Rio Gila, which runs through Arizona and New Mexico. Stanley based his painting on sketches he had made of the area’s geological features and native plants, lending authenticity to his narrative.
Black Knife, an Apache Warrior
- 42 1⁄2 x 52 in. (107.8 x 132.1 cm)
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of the Misses Henry
- Mediums Description
- oil on canvas
- Portrait male – Black Knife – equestrian portrait
- Indian – Apache
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI