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Montana, Bear Bull-Blackfoot Chief

Montana, Bear Bull-Blackfoot Chief


Montana, Bear Bull-Blackfoot Chief

Pen & Ink on Antique Map


In the early 1900s, Seattle-based photographer Edward S. Curtis embarked on a project of epic scale, to travel the western United States and document the lives of Native Americans still untouched by Western society.


His name was Kyaiyi-stamik or Bear Bull, and was also known as Sótai-na', Rain Chief.

Bear Bull was one of many Native translators and informants that worked with Curtis, but only includes one of them in this epic portfolio.


Bear Bull was photographed in profile, in part to draw attention to the outline of the hair but also to capture a detailed outline of his facial features. On the portfolio plate title page Curtis captions the image as illustrating “an ancient Blackfoot method of arranging the hair ” and one sees a striking image of man photographed in profile, an elaborate topknot rising from the top of his forehead.


I have combined antique maps with my version of stippling. The background for this drawing of Bear Bull is on an original map of Montana, showing the reservations of the time. It was published in 1892 in a Geo. F. Cram Mast, Atlas. It measures 13 X 21 inches and is framed with patinaed copper to a 21 X 30.

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