Pshán-shaw, Sweet-scented Grass, Twelve-year-old Daughter of Bloody Hand

  • George Catlin, Pshán-shaw, Sweet-scented Grass, Twelve-year-old Daughter of Bloody Hand, 1832, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.125

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This portrait, according to George Catlin, gives “a very pretty specimen of the dress and fashion of the women in this tribe [the Arikara]. The inner garment, which is like a slip or frock, is entire in one piece, and beautifully ornamented with embroidery and beads, with a row of elks' teeth passing across the breast, and a robe of the young buffalo's skin, tastefully and elaborately embroidered, gracefully thrown over her shoulders, and hanging down to the ground behind her.” Catlin painted fewer women than men, a fact explained by their secondary place in Indian society. As the young daughter of an Arikara chief, however, Sweet-scented Grass possessed status in the tribe and the means to dress in “a robe of the young buffalo’s skin, tastefully and elaborately embroidered” in northern Plains style. Catlin painted this portrait at an Arikara village in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 25, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979; Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)

Title
Pshán-shaw, Sweet-scented Grass, Twelve-year-old Daughter of Bloody Hand
Artist
Date
1832
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 female – Sweet Scented Grass – full length
  • Architecture Exterior – domestic – hut
  • Portrait female – Sweet Scented Grass – child
  • Ethnic – Indian – Arikara
  • Dress – ethnic – Indian dress
Object Number
1985.66.125
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI