Lay-láw-she-kaw, Goes Up the River, an Aged Chief

  • George Catlin, Lay-láw-she-kaw, Goes Up the River, an Aged Chief, 1830, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.277

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“The present chief of the [Shawnee] tribe,” George Catlin wrote, “is a very aged, but extraordinary man, with a fine and intelligent head, and his ears slit and stretched down to his shoulders, a custom highly valued in this tribe; which is done by severing the rim of the ear with a knife, and stretching it down by wearing heavy weights attached to it at times, to elongate it as much as possible, making a large orifice, through which, on parades, &c. they often pass a bunch of arrows or quills, and wear them as ornaments.” Catlin probably painted this work at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1830. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 49, 1841; reprint 1973)

Title
Lay-láw-she-kaw, Goes Up the River, an Aged Chief
Artist
Date
1830
On View
Not 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
  • Portrait male – Goes Up The River – elderly
  • Ethnic – Indian – Shawnee
Object Number
1985.66.277
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI