Wún-nes-tou, White Buffalo, an Aged Medicine Man

  • George Catlin, Wún-nes-tou, White Buffalo, an Aged Medicine Man, 1832, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.158

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“I have also transferred to my canvas the ‘looks and very resemblance’ of an aged chief, who combines with his high office, the envied title of mystery or medicine-man, i.e. doctor-magician-prophet-soothsayer-jongleur- and high priest, all combined in one person, who necessarily is looked upon as ‘Sir Oracle’ of the nation . . . on his left arm he presents his mystery-drum or tambour, in which are concealed the hidden and sacred mysteries of his healing art.” George Catlin painted this portrait at Fort Union in the upper Midwest in 1832. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 5, 1841; reprint 1973)

Title
Wún-nes-tou, White Buffalo, an Aged Medicine Man
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 male – White Buffalo
  • Ethnic – Indian – Blackfoot
  • Dress – ethnic – Indian dress
  • Portrait male – White Buffalo – full length
Object Number
1985.66.158
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI