Shin-ga-wás-sa, Handsome Bird

  • George Catlin, Shin-ga-wás-sa, Handsome Bird, 1834, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.44

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George Catlin described Handsome Bird, a member of the Osage/Wa-zha-zhe I-e tribe, as a “splendid-looking fellow, six feet eight inches high; with war-club and quiver.” In a different account about manners, customs and conditions, the artist described the war club as “another civilized refinement, with a blade of steel, of eight or ten inches in length, and set in a club, studded around and ornamented with some hundreds of brass nails.” Catlin painted this work at Fort Gibson (in present-day Oklahoma) in 1834. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 29, 1841, reprint 1973, and 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition)

Title
Shin-ga-wás-sa, Handsome Bird
Artist
Date
1834
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
  • Dress – ethnic – Indian dress
  • Ethnic – Indian – Osage
  • Object – weapon – club
  • Portrait male – Handsome Bird – full length
  • Object – weapon – bow and arrow
Object Number
1985.66.44
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI