Image source: The Walters Art Museum | Licence: CC0 1.0
Image source: The Walters Art Museum | Licence: CC0 1.0

Snake Indians - Testing Bows


Alfred Jacob Miller

From the collection


Snake Indians - Testing Bows




" While Indians are resting in camp, one of their amusements (if their evil star is not in the ascendant) is a trial of skill with the Elk-horn bow. Of course, a wager is laid in order to give zest to the trial and earnestness to the matter on hand. The stakes are of a multitudinous character,- Pleagh of beaver, against Couteau de chasse,- heads agains clother,- powder against tobacco,- &c. In the absense of any other stake, he will bet his own daughter. They are careful to select a calm day, and at a distance of 30 or 40 yards strike within the sircumference of a wuarter of a dollar. The arrow is tipped with iron, and feathering remarkablye for its neatness, giving a poise true and equal, this is essential to a good aim." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837).

In July 1858 William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at twelve dollars apiece from Baltimore born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, and were delivered in installments over the next twenty-one months and ultimately were bound in three albums. Transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during the 1837 expedition that Miller had undertaken to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (in what is now western Wyoming), these watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.
(Released under the GNU Free Documentation License)
Inscription: [Signature] Lower center: Miller (?)
Medium: watercolor on paper.
Credit line: Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860.
For full details please visit the collection website.


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From the Watercolour World


Green River Valley Lakes, Wyoming, USA



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Image source: The Walters Art Museum

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