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Portrait of a Man / Stephen Mopope, August 27, 1898 - February 1974, Native American; Kiowa (Artist)


For this portrait, Kiowa (Cáuigù)1 artist Stephen Mopope has painted the background a graduating azure blue to mimic the sky. The sitter is dressed in formal Kiowa attire, including a men’s buckskin shirt with finely cut fringe sewn into both shoulder inseams, and a headdress made from porcupine hair or perhaps deer-tail hair adorned with an eagle feather. His hair is evenly parted in the middle and braided, and over his left ear is a handworked German-silver adornment that is fastened to the top of a lock of hair. The braids are modestly wrapped in braintanned otter-fur pelts, with fully beaded ties fastened to the top of each braid.

Around his neck is a brightly colored silk scarf fastened with an ornately engraved and handstamped German-silver tie slide. The tie slide has a detailed design depicting a tipi with five individuals seated within it. Colorful neckties, scarves, and neckerchiefs were widely collected and traded across the Great Plains, and they had many different applications in nineteenth-century Indigenous fashion.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

1 Cáuigù is the correct identity used by the Kiowa Tribe.

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Portrait of a Man
Stephen Mopope, August 27, 1898 - February 1974, Native American; Kiowa (Artist)
Native American; Kiowa
oil on canvas
Portrait; single-sided 4.555-4.565mm linen canvas attached to multilayered, ridged board
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
0127.2034; 26861
Not On View

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