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Painted Elk Hide

Arts of the Americas

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
By 1900, when this hide was painted, Cotsiogo’s Eastern Shoshone band was confined to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, and the artist turned to the tourist economy as a means of support. This nostalgic work harks back to pre-reservation times with scenes of the Wolf and Sun Dances, a buffalo hunt, women butchering buffalo, and warriors on horseback returning to camp.

Prior to the 1860s, when Native people were forced onto reservations by the U.S. government so white settlers could occupy tribal lands, the vast Shoshone territory encompassed what is now southeastern California, central and eastern Nevada, northwestern Utah, southern Idaho, and western Wyoming.
MEDIUM Elk hide, pigment
DATES ca. 1900
DIMENSIONS 81 x 78 in. (205.7 x 198.1 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
ACCESSION NUMBER 64.13
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This is a painted elk hide. The narrative includes a camp scene with tipis, a "sun" dance, modified to show an eagle rising above the pole structure, which has an unraised buffalo head. Warriors dressed in finery are entering the village. On the fringe a group of women sit near a fire. The perimeter depicts a buffalo hunt with the hunters on horseback using rifles. Vignettes of skinning the buffaloes are also depicted with heaps of the heads, hides and hooves separated and piled. The colors used are brown, black, red, pink, purple, blue, maroons, and green. See supplementary files in Arts of Americas office for a study of paints.
CAPTION Cotsiogo (Cadzi Cody) (Shoshone, 1866-1912). Painted Elk Hide, ca. 1900. Elk hide, pigment, 81 x 78 in. (205.7 x 198.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 64.13. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 64.13_detail_edited_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 64.13_detail_edited_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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