Kotz-a-tó-ah, Smoked Shield, a Distinguished Warrior

  • George Catlin, Kotz-a-tó-ah, Smoked Shield, a Distinguished Warrior, 1834, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.63

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George Catlin described Smoked Shield as “another of the extraordinary men of this tribe [Kiowa], near seven feet in stature, and distinguished, not only as one of the greatest warriors, but the swiftest on foot, in the nation. This man, it is said, runs down a buffalo on foot, and slays it with his knife or his lance, as he runs by its side!” Smoked Shield’s most notable accessory is his shield, made of the heaviest part of a buffalo hide and smoked over a campfire to make it even tougher. Smoked Shield is draped with what appears to be a trade blanket, perhaps due to a shortage of buffalo robes caused by depletion of the southern herds through over-hunting. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 43, 1841, reprint 1973; Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)

Title
Kotz-a-tó-ah, Smoked Shield, a Distinguished Warrior
Artist
Date
1834
On View
Dimensions
29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Ethnic – Indian – Kiowa
  • Portrait male – Smoked Shield
Object Number
1985.66.63
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI