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Kiowa Family Moving Camp / George "Dutch" Silverhorn, 1911 - 1969, Native American; Kiowa (Artist)

Essay/Description

In Kiowa Family Moving Camp, Kiowa (Cáuigù)1 artist George “Dutch” Silverhorn combines elements of Flatstyle painting, such as a void background, with attributes of ledger art, including the use of objects and attire to inform viewers about the subjects’ identities. This tempera painting portrays a multigenerational family in graceful movement while they travel from one encampment to another, traversing ancestral trails across the Great Plains. The family’s casual ease and contentment on their journey locates the scene in pre-reservation life, before 1867.

The man leading the Kiowa party is a decorated warrior; seated on a tanned animal hide, he is mounted on a dark horse. His mouth is open, indicating he might be speaking. He wears an eagle-feather war bonnet, carries a wooden lance, and has a painted rawhide shield fixed to his waist. The second man appears elderly, and his face is wrinkled and drawn. He looks over his shoulder to speak to another member of the party, the wife and mother of the family. She is mounted on a brown horse with white spots, and is seated atop a tanned buffalo-hide robe. She is finely attired in a Kiowa-style buckskin dress adorned with yellow cowrie shells. Behind her, a large rawhide parfleche carries the family’s prized possessions and supplies. Her horse pulls a frame formed of two lashed lodge poles that acts as a drag sled, and stacked on the sled are the family’s tipi and more parfleche bags. Riding atop the bundle is their young daughter, also wearing a Kiowa-style buckskin dress decorated with cowrie shells. She is coaxing the family dog with a long blade of prairie grass.

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

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

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Title(s): 
Kiowa Family Moving Camp
Creator(s): 
George "Dutch" Silverhorn, 1911 - 1969, Native American; Kiowa (Artist)
Culture: 
Native American; Kiowa
Date: 
mid-20th century
Materials/Techniques: 
tempera on paper
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
02.285
Previous Number(s): 
0227.285; 16478
Department: 
Signed by hand in tempera, "G. Silverhorn" in lower right on recto.
Not On View

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