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    Description

    A Blackfoot War Record Panel by Big Spring
    c. 1915

    canvas, paint, inscribed on the back History of the Deeds of "Big Spring"

    Dimensions: 103 x 56 inches

    This panel is fully described in Dempsey, James, Blackfoot War Art, Pictographs of the Reservation Period, 1880-2000, University of Oklahoma Press, 2007, page 387. It is one of a large number of panels painted by elderly Blackfoot warriors for display in the hotels at Glacier National Park. The chapter in which this panel is described is titled "Glacier Park Panels with No Known Existing Images."

    A number of war record panels were displayed in the three Glacier Park (USA) hotels for which very few images are known to have survived. However, two typed records of the war experiences are in the archives of the U.S. National Parks Service office in West Glacier. One is an undated fourteen-page draft of an illustrated booklet that apparently was never published. Another is a sixteen-page document containing war records of a dozen elderly South Piegans. Both documents describe details of personal war exploits in such a way as to accompany illustrations. According to one document, "The Indians whose lives are pictured on the canvas are the oldest living chiefs of the Peigans. They painted their own histories and interpreted them thru one of their number who spoke Piegan and English tongues."

    Big Spring (South Piegan) Panel

    Big Spring was born in 1865, the son of Wolf Bedding and Many Necklace. His wife was Rabbit Old Woman. He was a comparatively young man, noted in his day for his prowess as a horse raider. At the time when the interview was done with him he was one of the largest horse owners in the Peigan tribe.

    Referring to his panel, in the upper right-hand corner is shown an attack on Big Spring by some Crows who were hiding in the bushes. Big Spring shot one of them and stabbed the other with a spear. His horses are shown picketed above. Below is shown a raid he and some friends made on the Gros Ventres. He drove them away but did not get their horses.

    In the center he shows the fight in which his brother was killed. Big Spring entered a corral that belonged to the Cheyennes and drove out all their horses. In the upper right-hand corner he is shown with his brother taking horses from the Flatheads. Below he shows an incident that occurred "only a few year ago" near his home on the reservation. He and his wife came across an elk. He let his wife have his gun and she shot the elk. In the lower left-hand side of the picture he displays his lodges. One of them was called the Mink lodge and the other was the Fox lodge. Below in the right-hand corner of the section he designates the number of successful horse raids he made. The man with the pipe beside him represents a horse taken from a chief.

    L. James Dempsey
    May 17, 2018



    Condition Report*: In overall very good condition.  Creases and small pin holes apparent along the edges where the painting had previously been attached to a stretcher.  Some faint creases throughout the canvas.  Approx. ten areas of smudged blue paint.  No apparent restoration. 
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    26th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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