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 Du Casse
Printed by Bougeard
A variety of objects collected by Prince Maximilian are represented in this print. At upper left is a Sioux moccasin featuring a quilled bear-paw design. To the right is another moccasin, possibly Iroquois. The quiver directly below, made of quill-decorated otter skin, also may be Sioux. The bows it contains are either Mandan or Hidatsa.
To the left of the eagle-feather war bonnet at upper center is a double-goose-bone war whistle of a type associated with the Mandan Crow-Raven Society. To the right of the war bonnet is a Fox deer-hair roach decorated with an eagle feather and the skin or effigy of a snake, believed to insure success in stealing horses. The pipe immediately below the bonnet also is Sioux. Its bowl was fashioned from pipestone, inlaid with lead, the stem made of wood wrapped with hide or cloth and decorated with tufts of dyed horsehair.
A painted Sioux or Cheyenne rawhide storage bag is reproduced at upper right. The original now is in the collection of the Museum für Volkderkunde in West Berlin. The original of the painted gunstock club directly below this bag resides at the National Museum of Man in Ottawa, Canada.
To the left of the club are items which were used in a Mandan hoop-and-pole game. The lance at left or below these objects is a Sac or Fox item made from a sword blade, with a cloth-covered pole decorated with feathers. Beneath the lance is an Assinboin pipe tamper adorned with a stiff horsehair tassel. The moccasin at lower right again probably is Sioux.
The ceremonial drum, lower right center, featuring designs symbolic of bison tracks and lightning, reportedly belonged to Mandan chief Mato-Tope. The pipe at lower left decorated with eagle feathers, cloth, horsehair, and woodpecker bills is similar to a pipe held by a Piegan Blackfeet man, Hotokaueth-Hoh, in a watercolor at Joslyn painted by Bodmer at Fort McKenzie in the fall of 1833.
The stone knife pictured immediately above this pipe represents an object found at New Harmony, Indiana, during the winter of 1832-3. At far right center is another, similar object, possibly a trade item.
The war shield, lower center, made of bison hide and decorated with eagle feathers, painted bird designs, ermine skins, and other medicine bundles, probably represents the shield mentioned by Maximilian as having been presented by the Crow to the Blackfeet at Fort McKenzie as a token of peace.
See Tableau 21 for depicitions of other artifacts collected by Maximilian.
Text by David Hunt, Director, Stark Museum, Orange, Texas, USA