50 surprising anthology drawings of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, between 1832⇌1834

50 vintage anthology drawings surprising the lifestyle of Indigenous peoples of the Americas ... illustrations carefully reproduced in 1969 (Germany), based on drawings from Karl Bodmer's expeditions to the Great Plains, between 1823 and 1834.


These illustrations carefully reproduced were made in 1969 (Germany), for the best possible presentation, after the drawings from Karl Bodmer's expeditions to the Great Plains, between 1823 and 1834.
In 1832, Karl Bodmer met Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian, ruler of the small state of Neuwied, Prussia (now part of Germany). Known as Prince Maximilian of Wied, or Prince Max, Maximilian was a German explorer, naturalist and ethnographer searching for a draftsman to accompany him to North America. He selected Bodmer for the expedition to the Great Plains region of the United States, along the Missouri River. Prince Max had led another well publicized expedition to South America, and the North American trip was to bring more notice with the publication of the 3 volume book from which these illustrations were reproduced. Of the many images he made from the trip, 81 were reproduced as aquatints for the book. Scenes include subjects from the entire journey, from Boston, through New York and Pennsylvania, down the Ohio to Cairo, up the Mississippi to St. Louis, and all the way to the headwaters of the Missouri. Bodmer’s works from this trip were recognized as among the most painted images ever made of the region at that time, and included many depiction of local culture, artifacts and scenery. On the return trip they went via Cleveland, Lake Erie, and the Erie canal to Albany and down the Hudson.
The finest work on American Indian life and the American Frontier, it is the result of an epic journey which took place at a time when the mass migrations of settlers and pioneers was about to alter irrevocably the unspoiled West. His efforts show great versatility and technical virtuosity and give us a uniquely thorough, accomplished and detailed picture of a previously little understood (and soon to vanish) way of life. The portraits are particularly notable for capturing individual personalities, as well as forming, together with Prince Maximilian's written studies, the primary accounts of what became virtually lost cultures.
Title: Maximilian, Prince of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America, during the years 1832–1834 Author: Prince Maximilian of Wied (Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied) Artist: Karl Bodmer Publisher: Ackermann & Co. Date Published: 1839.

Three tribes - three typesThree Tribes - three types
The Osage warrior (left) belongs to the Sioux tribe who hunt in the prairie and is dressed in leggings and a buffalo skin. The mohawk (middle) has long hair, a magnificent feather headdress and a nose ring. A Pawnee woman (right) looks almost inconspicuous next to these two.

Wild horse catchWild Horse Catch
The wild horses are caught with a lasso, driven to exhaustion and then tied with ropes at the front feet. So the Indian has the horse in his power.

Hunting in animal disguiseHunting in Animal Disguise
A very dangerous undertaking was bison hunting. The Indians put over wolf masks and thus sneaked up to the animals in order to fire the deadly archery shots at close range.

Chief Mato-TopeChief Mato-Tope
In sumptuous clothing, with a painted bison robe, embroidered moccasins and large headdresses, one of the most distinguished Mandan warriors, Chief Mato-Tope, which means “the four bears”, presents himself here.

The Mandan VillageThe Mandan Village
In the foreground Indians are working on their bullboats, one is just crossing the river; above the steep bank lies an comprehensive Mandan village of around 60 earth huts, which is surrounded by a fence on stakes.

In the chieftain's houseIn the Chieftain's House
The interior of the house is illuminated through the opening in the roof. Smoking a pipe together is seen as a matter of course hospitality. Horses, dogs, tools and weapons are also kept in the house.

Here the chief of the Mandan Indians Mato-Tope shows himself in red and yellow body painting with tomahawk and feather headdress. His appearance in this war paint is considered the prelude to a hunt.

Bison danceBison Dance
Scouts have discovered a herd of bison. Some Indians in bison masks, but all with weapons and shields, dance to prepare for the hunt. The dances often last several hours.

Bison huntingBison Hunting
The Indians hunt the herd with horses trained to hunt bison. There are dramatic fights with wounded and cornered bulls, and horses are often harmed.

Indian PoliceIndian Police
The “Society of Dogs” ensures order in many tribes. The war chief in our picture belongs to this society and could punish sinners with flogging or burning of property.

Welcoming the Mį́nįtareeWelcoming the Mį́nįtaree
The white travelers are greeted by Mį́nįtaree Indians at Fort Clark and invited into the village. The chief wears a headdress that shows the willingness to make contact with the white people.

Scalp danceScalp Dance
After successful campaigns and raids, the Mį́nįtaree women perform the scalp dance, in which they carry their men's trophies on poles, and they also put on the men's clothing.

At the DakotaAt the Dakota
Our picture shows the “Big Soldier”, one of the most respected men of the Dakota tribe. He wears a white-tanned bison robe with leggings, that are decorated with brightly colored patterns made from colored porcupine bristles.

The Mortuary ScaffoldingThe Mortuary Scaffolding
View into the Dakota camp with their typical cone tents. On the right of the picture you can see a scaffolding on which tribal chiefs were buried; the corpse was supposed to dry up there, the bones were later placed in crevices in the rock.

Two Foreign VisitorsTwo Strange Visitors
On the left a member of the Assiniboin tribe called Noapeh, neighboring the Dakota; on the right his relative, a Yanktonai. They have particularly long hair, a strand of which falls across their foreheads, and Noapeh has a special headdress made of two horns.

The Beautiful Indian WomanThe Beautiful Indian Woman
This Dakota woman wears precious clothes with embroidery and pearl decorations and is respected by the members of the tribe. She has adopted the little girl who has lost her parents during a campaign and is raising her.

In the Winter VillageIn the Winter Village
A Mį́nįtaree Indian village located at the edge of the forest in winter. There was certainly no need to worry about firewood here. The Indians passed the time with conversations and games.

Snowshoe DanceSnowshoe Dance
The snow makes hunting easier for the Indians in winter. That's why the first snow is celebrated with the snowshoe dance, where the redskins dance in a circle singing on frame snowshoes.

Bison Hunting in WinterBison Hunting in Winter
Frame snowshoes were an essential means of transport for the Indians in winter. When hunting bison, they drove the animals into open terrain, where the deep snow made their escape difficult and usually prevented them.

The Dog SledThe Dog Sled
Since the Indians did not know the wheel, the hunted prey was brought home on grinding racks pulled by dogs and later also horses. Some of the burden had to be borne by the women. These skidless dog sleds are called Toboggans.

Religious DancesReligious Dances
Dances of various kinds occupied an important place among the Indians. The “band of women from the White Buffalo Cow” perform a dance here in which they wear long vestments and cylinder-shaped headgear with feathered headdress.

Holy BundlesHoly Bundles
The Indians tied their sacred things into small bundles that were attached to medicine sticks and set up. In our picture it is the skin of a bison cow, which could also belong to a kinship.

The Arrow GameThe Arrow Game
The Indians are masterful archers. Here an arrow game is played in which accuracy does not play the main role. The winner is the one who was able to shoot the most arrows before the one that was shot first hits the ground.

The Gros VentresThe Gros Ventres
One of the tribes in the area of the Algonquian Indians were the Gros Ventres, not entirely savage. Here they besiege the expedition's ship and demand barter deals.

The Gloomy ChiefThe Gloomy Chief
The chief of the Gros Ventres, Mexkemahuastan, i.e. "the Stirring Iron", was very much feared, which one can well imagine after looking at the picture. When he was given presents, however, he was sociable.

Curious PronghornsCurious Pronghorns
Lured by a colorful cloth in the middle of the terrain, the animals come closer and closer to their hunters. It is then easy for the Indians to hunt down the pronghorns with a rifle or with a bow and arrow. The tender meat of these animals is very popular.

Council of War of the CrowsCouncil of War of the Crows
The Crows Indians were nomads of the prairie, a roaming, warlike hunter people. The chiefs are holding a meeting; a rider brings a message, the content of which is obviously important.

Blackfoot on the WarpathBlackfoot on the Warpath
Our picture shows a leader of the Blackfoot Indians on horseback, whose group is about to carry out an attack. Many come to war honors in this way.

Difficult AgreementDifficult Agreement
Almost every Indian tribe had its own language. One therefore had to communicate with signs. This is what a chief of the Kainai Indians (left), a war chief of the Piegan (center) and a Kutenai Indian (right) are trying to do.

Chief “Iron Shirt”Chief “Iron Shirt”
The chief, the Blackfoot Indian Mehkskeme-Sukahs, which means “Iron Shirt”, is known as a polite and honest man. His name suggests his battle-hardenedness, as does his leather shirt trimmed with otter skin and ermine stripes.

Whistles, Feathers and WeaponsWhistles, Feathers and Weapons
The chief's “Iron Shirt” collection contained a feather crown, buffalo skin shield, tobacco pipes, maces and other Indian utensils and weapons that were captured during fighting.

Bear DanceBear Dance
The hunters of a Sioux tribe prepare for the bear hunt by dancing. They are partly dressed with bear masks and ask for supernatural help and protection for the hunt through the dance.

Grizzly HuntGrizzly Hunt
A troop of horsemen takes up the track, which leads into a rocky terrain. The hunters now have to prove their skill and speed, because the hunt for bears is always a game with death and a horse often falls victim to close combat.

The Medicine ManThe Medicine Man
Mahsette-Kuiuab was the name of the respected Cree Indians medicine man who cured diseases and prophesied the future. In any case, the Indians believed his skills and strictly followed the shaman's orders.

Prelude to the Ball GamePrelude to the Ball Game
The ball game called lacrosse was a big festival that was celebrated the day before with group dances of all players and their relatives. Medicine men who acted as referees on game day seek the favor of the Great Spirit.

The Great GameThe Great Game
The two parties could only be distinguished from each other by different body paints. The game wasn't over until one party had scored 100 goals, which could sometimes take a whole day.

Famous Lacrosse PlayersFamous Lacrosse Players
The Indians celebrated the winners of the tough game. A Choctaw Indian (left) and two Sioux are presented here. They have long tails and only differ in their tribal origin in terms of the bat.

The Riddle of the ArikaraThe Riddle of the Arikara
The Arikara Indians belong to the Caddo, but live far in the north. Here is the warrior Pachtüwa-Chte, who was very hospitable to the white people.

The Buffalo Skin as Guest GiftThe Buffalo Skin as Guest Gift
Only the prairie Indians, who were buffalo hunters, were able to produce such a lightly tanned and painted bison skin. One could often see entire family chronicles from the picture writings. Other utensils in the illustration are whistles, flutes, a snowshoe and a scalping knife.

Sauk and FoxSauk and Fox
These two clans form a tribe of the Algonquin and were probably displaced to the west by the Iroquois. But they have taken over the scalplock on the otherwise shaved head from the neighboring Sioux. The Sauk and Fox make themselves unpopular by begging for whiskey and tobacco.

Escape from the SmallpoxEscape from the Smallpox
Two warriors of the Assiniboin, among whose tribe the expedition members found refuge from smallpox. The epidemic was so raging that some tribes almost died out.

In Front of the Chief's TentIn Front of the Chief's Tent
The tipi was the typical dwelling of the prairie Indians, as for the Assiniboin. Dogs were used as pack animals, pulling the sanding frames tied together on their backs. The few horses that were available were spared for the bison hunt.

The Magic MarkThe Magic Mark
With a bison skull, stones and sticks, some Indians erected hunting marks, from which the hunted bison herd recoiled, changed direction and the lurking archer ran into it ... and of course representing also a form of ritual belief.

Sioux Horse RacesSioux Horse Races
Here a horse race takes place in a form in which no rules are observed. With ranting, hindering fellow combatants and pursue the horses, everyone strives to be the first at the finish line. The winner was then allowed to put one more feather into his hair.

Tree DiggersTree Diggers
Many Indians built tree graves in limbed trees that were very similar to the corpse scaffolding of the Dakotas. The deceased were buried here so that they would be protected from the predators.

The Piegan CampThe Piegan Camp
Piegan Indians had pitched their tents around the forts of the white settlers and traders to conduct barter deals. Other tribes joined in until the place resembled an army camp, in which there was a lively hustle and bustle.

Battle at Fort MackenzieBattle at Fort Mackenzie
With rifles, arrows, spears, tomahawks, clubs and scalping knives, a fight for revenge between Assiniboin and Piegan is fought, which led to a bloody slaughter. The women, children and old people were not spared, and in the end many dead could be counted.

In his splendid Indian clothing (left) Wi-Jún-Jon represented his tribe in a delegation in Washington. He liked it there so much that he adopted a more civilized way of life and didn't return until a year later. According to Indian law, he was now considered a prodigal son and fell out of favor.

Farewell to the IndiansFarewell to the Indians
With this view of the camp life of the redskins and of Fort Union on the Missouri, the whites said goodbye to the world of the Indians.

Peoples and TribesPeoples and Tribes
The overview shows where the individual tribes have settled:
1 Athapasken; 2 Algonkian; 3 Iroquois; 4 Sioux; 5 Muskhogee; 6 Caddo; 7 Mosanese tribes; 8 Sahaptin; 9 Penuti; 10 Hoka; 11 Uto-Aztecan; 12 Kiowa; 13 isolated tribes.

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