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A Blackfoot Indian medicine man. Coloured photograph, ca. 1913.
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1 photograph : photoprint, with gouache ; image 29 x 20 cm
Blackfoot Indian medicine man. The head is covered with the skin of a yellow bear, the head of which serves as a mask. The skin of a yellow bear being rare in that district is therefore very powerful 'medicine'. To this skin are attached the skins of other animals also considered anomalous or monstrous, and therefore 'medicine'. Sihasapa (Blackfoot), Yellowstone River, U.S.A.
Wellcome Library no. 677847i
The composition is close to that of a painting by George Catlin of a Blackfoot "Medicine man, performing his mysteries over a dying man", 1832, published in his Letters and notes on the manners, customs and condition of the North American Indians. There however the medicine man holds the shield or drum downwards, towards the dying man. Here he holds it up. Could this be the version by George P. Manley?