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    c. 1890

    rendered in blue, red, yellow, green, rust and black pigments, one side depicting a frenzied battle with Jaw and his fellow Hunkpapa warriors in deadly combat with the Crow Indians, the other side, with two portraits of the artist, one on the left, fulfilling his Sun Dance vows, wood skewers piercing his chest, bound by rawhide to the center pole, and on the right, standing next to his horse, ready for battle

    This painting most likely depicts the Battle of Rainy Butte in the Spring of 1859 in which Sitting Bull (top center) is seen killing a Crow with a lance, avenging the death of his father, Jumping Bull. The Hunkpapa camp was attacked by about fifty Crow warriors at daylight. The Sioux collected themselves and eventually drove off and pursued the Crow, killing ten of them. When the Crow fled, they left behind three women and a baby boy. To the lower right we see the young Crow child being carried off by Shoots-The-Enemy.

    All of the participants are mentioned by name, including Good Bear, Fire Elk, Thunder Hawk, Low Dog, Circle Hawk, Catch-The-Bear, Shoots-The-Enemy, Charging Bear, and Walking Shoot (aka Shoots Walking). For a detailed account of the Battle of Rainy Butte, see: Vestal, Stanley, Sitting Bull, U. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1957, pp. 43 - 49, and Utley, Robert, The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull, Ballantine Books, NY 1993, pp. 24 - 25.

    Our knowledge of the artist comes to us from the writings of the noted ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore, who interviewed Jaw in 1913 when he was 63 years old. "Jaw's manner of painting himself and his horse when going on the war path was as follows: he painted a red crescent over his mouth, the points of the crescent extending upward half way up to his cheekbones. His hands were painted red from the wrists and his feet from the ankles. A large crescent like that on his face was painted on his horse's chest, and a smaller one on the animal's left hip, while the entire end of the horse's nose was painted yellow. If a horse succeeded in some difficult undertaking it was his custom to reward the animal by putting a feather in it's mane or tail, or a band of red list-cloth around its neck," Densmore, Frances, Teton Sioux Music, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 61, Washington, 1918, pp. 387 - 393 and plates 59 - 63.

    Another example of the artist's work appears in Spendid Heritage. The muslin painting illustrated is likely another version of the Battle of Rainy Butte. Here again we see Jaw wearing a cape of red wool save list cloth and coming to the rescue of his comrades. Further, this painting is useful for stylistic comparison, especially Jaw's treatment of wounded horses. See Batkin, Jonathan, ed., Spendid Heritage, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, 1995, pp. 38- 39.

    Dimensions: 65 x 51 inches

    Condition Report*: Overall very good with light wear and soiling. Hide with approx. 37 holes the largest approx. 1" diameter. Colors still strong. No apparent restoration.
    *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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2007
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,605

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