Sioux painting on cloth

Paintings from the 19th century Plains tribes serve as narratives of important historical events. This piece was made at Standing Rock Agency (now Reservation) in North Dakota. Painted on a large sheet of muslin, 19 male figures and 15 horses are complemented by an additional 35 horse heads in the lower left-hand corner. Each individual figure appears to float on the surface of the muslin, as there is no evidence of a horizon. The scene represents the heroic deeds of the members of a Sioux group known as Gall's Band, one of the last American Indian bands to surrender to the US army, as they waged hand-to-hand combat with a group of Crow warriors.

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