Description

    APPLE TREE
    c. 1875
    Apple Tree, Pawnee, by John K. Hillers at Okmulgee, Indian Territory, May 14, 1875. Mounted on heavy paper mat with ink inscription, probably in the photographer's hand: "Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Ethnology, J. W. Powell in Charge, Hillers Photo." Importantly, the subject is identified in ink below the image as "Apple Tree." Likely this was an inaccurate translation, probably referring to one of the native trees of the Southern Plains, possibly Osage orange, sometimes called "Osage apple," a favorite bow wood.

    The man's plucked scalp with central ridge of short hair and undecorated, black-dyed moccasins are tribal characteristics identifying him as a Pawnee. These two features appear in scores of Cheyenne ledger drawings as hallmarks of their Pawnee enemies. A roach headdress with decorated eagle feather is tied to Apple Tree's scalplock. The glistening highlights on his plucked scalp indicate that it was painted with greased vermillion, another tribal fashion often shown in ledger drawings. Silver ball-&-cone earrings decorate his ears. He wears two chokers, one of brass beads and the other of hairpipes. What appears to be the skin of a small bird hangs from the necklace against his chest. Tied to his shirt is a human scalp. The flesh side would have been accented with vermillion. Grasped in his right hand is a pipe-tomahawk, the haft decorated with strips of otter fur and pendant eagle feathers. A quirt with the handle made of an elk tine hangs from his left wrist. Note the silk ribbon embroidery in a forked, "deer track" motif edging his wool blanket.

    The same image, identified only as "Pawnee," is in the University of Pennsylvania Museum collection, #AD2000-1147.

    Dimensions: image, 7 ¼ x 9 ¼ inches; mount, 13 x 15 inches

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    Condition report available upon request.

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    Auction Dates
    September, 2009
    19th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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