Description

    NORTHERN BLACKFEET CEREMONIAL ALTAR, BIG BELLY, STUMP, and EAGLE NOSE
    c. 1912 Northern Blackfeet (Siksika) Ceremonial Altar, by Harry Pollard, Calgary, Alberta, c.1912. Photographer's blind-stamp at lower right. Pencil inscription, verso: "Medicine Dance." Silver-gelatin print.

    This depicts the opening of a family religious bundle during the days of the Sun Dance encampment. Four men and a woman are seen within a classic Blackfeet tipi, with an artistically-painted inner liner. A painted circular drum and a parfleche case hang from the sticks of a tripod leaning against the rear wall. Note the head of a sleeping child in the woman's lap. The contents of the sacred bundle are exposed on a folded blanket at center. Just in front, the crossed sticks are a support for the stems of smoking pipes to be displayed later, after the photographer departs. In the mid-foreground is a square, painted altar made of pulverized earth, the surface divided into halves representing the duality of the universe and sprinkled with crushed charcoal and either red-ocher or vermillion. These paints are contained in the leather bags seen at left center, with a braid of sweetgrass to be burned as incense. The lighted coals to accomplish this will be brought inside from an exterior fire, using the wooden tongs seen lying to the right of the altar.

    Dimensions: image 9 ½ x 7 ½ inches

    Big Belly, Sarcee Head Chief, by Harry Pollard, Calgary, Alberta, c. 1912. Photographer's blind-stamp at lower right. Silver-gelatin print.

    The Sarcee, a small Alberta tribe, were closely allied with the Northern Blackfeet. Big Belly wears the formal, black-wool coat fashionable with Canadian Indian leaders of the period, accented with floral-beaded cuffs made by his wife Maggie. He holds a pipe with black-stone bowl and round stem of ashwood. The medals pinned to his coat indicate his status as a signatory of Canadian treaties on behalf of his tribe. After his death, about 1920, Maggie Big Eagle married the photographer Arnold Lupson.

    Dimensions: image 7 ½ x 9 ½ inches

    Stump, Northern Blackfeet (Siksika), by Harry Pollard, Calgary, Alberta, c. 1912. Photographer's blind-stamp at lower right. Silver-gelatin print.

    In this simple, formal portrait, Stump wears small earrings of conch shell and the formal coat of a Blackfeet leader.

    Dimensions: image 7 ½ x 9 ½ inches

    Eagle Nose, Blackfeet (Kainah, or Blood), by Harry Pollard, Calgary, Alberta, c. 1912. Photographer's blind-stamp at lower right. Silver-gelatin print.

    His profile clearly indicates the origin of his name. Narrow braids are decorated with a silver concho and a "spring" of brass wire that had been tightly wrapped around a stick.

    Dimensions: image 7 ½ x 9 ½ inches


    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. 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, 2010
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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