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Hide Painting

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Silver Horn (aka Haungooah)

(1860 - 1940)

Hide Painting, c. 1910
Ink on leather
55 1/8 in. x 37 in. (140.02 cm x 93.98 cm)

Creation Place: North America, Native American
Technique: Painting
Credit Line: Pomona College Collection
Accession Number: P5106
Polychrome drawings on animal hide, probably buffalo, in the realistic style. "These were customarily painted by the men to narrate exploits, serv"- Dockstader (see publication notes.)

Materials
ink and color on hide

Bibliography
Candace S. Greene, Silver Horn: Master Illustrator of the Kiowas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001), 156-157 and 269-270 (illustrated/b&w p. 157).
Rebecca McGrew, Barbara Benish: Hybrid Histories (Claremont: Montgomery Gallery, 2000) 9 illustrated/b&w.
Kay Koeninger and Joanne M. Mack, Native American Art from the Permanent Collection (Claremont: Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, 1979), 49 (illustrated/bw) fig. 138.
R. Conn, Denver Art Museum--see materials mentioned in 'Plains Indian Painting,' Edition Szeedzicki, Nice, c. 1930.
Dockstader, Indian Art in America, Greenwich, Conn., 1962."

Attribution
"Attributed to Silverhorn by John C. Ewers, Curator, Smithsonian Institution, 1981."

Commentary
The art of hide painting has been practiced on the Plains from the earliest times; Coronado mentioned it in 1540 during his expedition. It was a distinctly male art form, used for buffalo hide robers and tipi covers for the celebration of acts of bravery, self-sacrifice, and generosity. SInce the status of men in Plains society was principally established by military achievements, scenes of war exploits were the mist important subjects of hide painting . Among the Sioux, a form of history called the "winter count," consisting of an event from each winter of a man's life, was arranged spirally or linearly on the hide. The early sparse and pictographic style of hide painting developed into a more realistic and detailed format, reaching its height during the years 1860-1900.

Before the advent of the white trader, circa 1880, pigments for painting were obtained from such sources as oxides, charcoals, vegetables, and berries; religious ritual often accompained the preparation of vertain prized colors. The extermination of the buffalo in the late 19th century forced the painters to substitute cowhide, canvas and muslin for buffalo hide; after the 1870s ledger paper obtained from traders and government quartermasters was used Hide painting was one of the sources for the modern school of Plains painting.
-from the Native American Art from the Permanent Collection catalog, 1979

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For further inquiries, contact Associate Director/Registrar Steve Comba at steven.comba@pomona.edu.