c. 1887 Wooden Lance (Apiatan), Kiowa Chief, with a separate portrait of his wife and daughter, both by George W. Bretz, Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory, c. 1887. Titles appear as pencil inscriptions, verso. Albumen cabinet cards.

    In this earliest-known portrait, Wooden Lance was already the leading Kiowa chief, and also the Chief Justice of the tribal court. He and the Comanche leader Quanah Parker often cooperated on business of mutual benefit to their two tribes. Compare the later portrait of him in Washington, D.C. in 1894, NAA, Neg. No. gn_01392a. Here, he displays the imposing eagle-feather headdress which undoubtedly was worn into the Battle of Adobe Walls, and other engagements of the Red River War of 1874-75, a dozen years earlier. An eagle-tail fan with beaded embellishments is typical of those used for the Peyote ceremonies then becoming popular on the Kiowa-Comanche Reservation. His leather shirt is of the typical, Kiowa style with profuse, thin fringes and would have been painted yellow ocher. His breastplate is the earlier type made of conch-shell hairpipe cut in half, then strung in columns between harness-leather spacers.

    The leather dresses worn by Apiatan's wife and daughter are both trimmed with cowrie shells, in imitation of the prized elk's teeth which, by the mid-1880s, were nearly impossible to obtain on the Southern Plains due to extermination of the elk herds. The darker top of the woman's dress indicates it was painted, probably yellow-ocher. Her most-extensive artistry has been devoted to the masterwork of tanning and bead embroidery worn by their beloved daughter, the leather left its natural white, with a scalloped hem of red paint. The girl's belt is ornamented with a multitude of expensive, brass buttons.

    In both photos, the leafy structure seen in the background is a ramal, or arbor, a framework of saplings covered with branches, preferred for daily activities including sleeping during the hot nights of summer. These photos appear to have been made early in the day, and the two women were photographed first, because Apiatan's bare feet, still in bed, may be seen in the shaded interior at lower left.

    Dimensions: each image 3 ¾ x 5 ½ inches

    Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500.

    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
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