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    Description

    Shoshoni Chief Eagle Eye's Bow and Arrows captured from him in Idaho Territory, 1868
    Circa 1868
    Length 34 in. the bow; Length 26 3/4 in. the longest arrow

    "This important bow and arrow set of historical significance is a masterpiece of American Indian archery. It is a composite bow of wood, sinew backed and sealed with pitch and/or animal tallow, with rawhide wrappings at its grip area concealing bird quills and exhibiting good age and manufacture. This perfectly tillered bow, the relationship and balance of each bow limb to pull uniformly, is a perfect example of the type used in the northwestern Plains and eastern Plateau. Its pull weight would be estimated to be about 40 pounds. Only a few similar examples exist, some made from elk antler are even more rare...The bow retains its original multi-strand, twisted sinew string, again demonstrating a high degree of skill in its making.
    "Of the thousands of arrows this author has seen, these arrows represent the finest example of a 'Plains' type self-arrow, that is, of one-piece construction. They average 25 inches in length and the 1/4 inches diameter midsection tapers gracefully to both the distal and proximal end, which finishes in a perfectly expanding nock. Two straight shallow grooves representing 'spirit lines' are evident on each arrow. These arrows are carefully hand-hewn to be of the correct spine, meaning, matched to the bow's weight for perfect cast. Few aboriginal arrows exhibit such care in manufacture. The well-fitted points are of native manufacture, and the short cropped fletching would give uniform and speedy flight. There is no doubt this matched set represents one of the best examples of the American Indian bowyer's craft and would be a very formidable weapon in the hands of a warrior on horseback."1
    The words "Eagle Eye Chief of WeiserSnake Indians, August, 1868" and "Presented to Col. Sinclair" are painted on the face of the bow. Eagle Eye was chief of the Weiser River band of Shoshoni. He is mentioned in numerous accounts during the later 19th century as government officials sought to move all the independent bands onto the Fort Hall Reservation (Idaho). "News also came of a 'band of thieving Snakes' on the headwaters of Weiser River. The commander of Fort Boise immediately sent out a scouting party, and on August 19, 1868, Captain James B. Sinclair reported back to Chief Eagle Eye and his band of forty-one Indians of which thirteen were men. In addition the Captain brought in twenty-one horses and a large quantity of dried roots and salmon, part of which was used as rations by the eighteen soldiers for the last twenty days of the trip. The Indians probably did not appreciate this assault on their winter food supply by their captors, especially a few days later when, in a council with Eagle Eye, Governor Ballard and the army officers satisfied themselves that these Shoshoni were not really hostile and allowed them to return to Weiser Valley. A short while later the governor learned to his chagrin that apparently the same group of Indians had begun committing depredations along the Weiser. He decided it was necessary to dispatch Agent Hough to bring them back if they could be found. Eagle Eye's band continued to cause slight excitement in the area for a number of years before they were finally persuaded to move to a reservation after the turn of the century."2

    Provenance
    Richard Corrow Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This lot is accompanied by Colonel Sinclair's military records from the National Archives. It includes copies of letters from the governor of Idaho territory congratulating Sinclair on capturing Chief Eagle Eye.

    Reference
    1Corrow, Richard personal correspondence, June 9, 2006.
    2Madsen, Brigham The Northern Shoshoni. The Caxton Printers, Caldwell,1980, p. 54





    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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    Auction Dates
    September, 2006
    29th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 24
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