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    Description

    A Kiowa Wooden Bow and Four Arrows Made by Etahdleuh Doanmoe
    c. 1875

    wood, pigments, the presentation "arrow" inscribed with Etahdleuh

    Provenance:
    Acquired by Alicia "Alice" Key Pendleton, daughter of Frances Scott Key, niece of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, and wife of George Hunt Pendleton, and their daughter Jane, during winter vacations at Saint Augustine, Florida, 1875-78.

    Length of bow: 45 ΒΌ inches

    Paper drawings were not the only popular items in which visitors to Fort Marion expressed an interest. Very soon after the arrival of the Indian prisoners in Florida, visitors were offering to buy almost any memento. Bows and arrows, associated in the popular imagination with the Indian wars still raging in the West, were high on the list. Apparently within a matter of weeks after their arrival, the prisoners were actively engaged in making these weapons for sale.

    "The prisoners making bows and arrows for visitors," outside on the cannon deck at Fort Marion, hand caption by Capt. R.H. Pratt, 1875. 10 men making bows and arrows, 2 apparently working on drawings. R.H. Pratt Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University: See image here.



    A cash income was not the only thing of which the prisoners were in need. Separated from their families, the lack of female companionship was also a galling loss. A happy solution to this problem had been found by early, 1876, in the form of weekly meetings of an "Archery Club" (ladies only !), with personal instruction from the flower of Kiowa, Cheyenne and Comanche manhood.

    "Indian Prisoners and ladies. Archery Club, St. Augustine," a drawing by Making Medicine, Southern Cheyenne, at Fort Marion, ca. 1876. National Museum of Natural History, Cat. No. 39B-0854710: See image here.


    Note the artist's tongue-in-cheek humor of an entire fusillade of arrows fallen short of the target. This "club" was still going strong in May, 1878, the month the prisoners were allowed to return to Indian Territory.

    "Archery Practice," wood engraving by J. Wells Champney, Harper's Weekly, May 11, 1878: See image here.


    Note that the woman with drawn bow is using a "target arrow," of the type in this lot, with no iron point. Early experimentation probably suggested that iron-pointed arrows were not the safest option; so "practice" arrows, of the type traditionally made for young boys, were the missiles of choice. Of course, many of the club members, and their guests, would have wanted personal souvenirs, from "that nice Mr. Making Medicine," or 70 other candidates. In the three years the Indian prisoners remained in Florida, an entire arsenal of bows and literally hundreds of arrows must have been sold; yet a survey of museum collections nationwide has revealed but a single set that is presently known.

    In the early winter of 1875-76, Bishop Henry Whipple visited Fort Marion, and was asked by Capt. Pratt to deliver a sermon to the prisoners. He spent the day with them, and obviously made a positive impression, as he had through a long career with many of his Dakota parishioners in Minnesota. On March 20, 1876, Capt. Pratt sent several gifts to the Bishop, with this message: "The bow, arrows and book are sent by the Indians, without cost...With great respect and love, R.H. Pratt."

    A gift bow and arrows made at Fort Marion, 1876. Sent by Capt. R.H. Pratt to Bishop Henry Whipple. Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul.
    See image here.


    The early set sent to Bishop Whipple is almost entirely undecorated. The souvenir set offered here, beautifully ornamented and personalized with great care by Etahdleuh for the family of Alicia Pendleton, is one of the rarest survivals of the Fort Marion experience. The presentation "arrow" inscribed with his name is absolutely unique in the history of Kiowa art.

    Mike Cowdrey
    May 15, 2018






    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *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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    26th Tuesday
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