Pulled from the original steel and copper plates, engraved in Paris between 1836 and 1843 under Karl Bodmer's direction, after the artist's own watercolours drawn from nature during the journey.
The engravings are hand-printed in colours, à la poupée, with extensive hand-colouring and some application of gum arabic, in the nineteenth-century manner.
Engraved by A. Lschokke and Hurlimann
Printed by Bougeard
Represented in this aquatint are a number of items collected by Prince Maximilian and subsequently painted by Bodmer. Featured at center is a facsimile of a painted bison hide or robe, the original of which, now in the Linden-Museum collection in Stuttgart, Germany, is attributed to Mandan chief Mato-Tope and illustrated with figures detailing his various military exploits.
Pictured at upper center is a pipe of wood and clay which is said to have belonged to the Mandan warrior-chief Dipauch, the interior of whose lodge was reproduced as Tableau 19 in this series. An ermine-skin pouch appears directly below this pipe.
At right, an elk-antler quirt is described. At extreme upper right is a bird-bone war whistle, the original of which, again thought to have belonged to Mato-Tope, also resides at the Linden-Museum in Stuttgart. Immediately below this whistle is an otter-skin pouch decorated with quillwork and beads. To the left are other pouches, similarly decorated, probably of Atsina or Gros Ventres manufacture.
To the left of Dipauch's pipe, at upper left, is a tobacco pouch made from the skin of a white skunk, possibly the same as a Sioux tobacco pouch which Maximilian obtained from the agent at Fort Union in the fall of 1833. To the left of this is what was known as a "conquest bundle," probably Hidatsa, relating to sexual encounters, which were recorded by means of sticks or painted rods, each stick or ring on a stick representing a romantic conquest. The original of this artifact also is preserved in the Linden-Museum collection with the originals of the knife and sheath pictured at lower left. At bottom center, a Mandan snowshoe is reproduced.
For other depictions of artifacts collected by Maximillan, see Tableau 48.
Text by David Hunt, Director, Stark Museum, Orange, Texas, USA