Péhriska-Rúhpa (“Two Ravens”) posed for Bodmer in March, 1834 wearing the regalia of the leader of the Hidatsa Dog Society. He was a warrior and tribal chief whose depiction in our Perfect Recreation of this original watercolor is the iconic image of the Plains Indians.
The spectacular and precisely rendered headdress was designed to move dramatically during the ceremonial Dog Dance, its feathers thrusting forward and floating backwards repeatedly in cadence with drumming and the sounds of rattles like the one held in the right hand.
The bonnet is made from magpie tail feathers. The white tips are tiny down feathers attached to the point of each plume – and rendered in exquisite watercolor detail by Bodmer. Large wild turkey feathers were used for the “tail” of the headdress; the forward vertical raven plume was dyed to a reddish color.
Péhriska-Rúhpa wore a war whistle and beaded strands from his neck. The rattle in his right hand is a beaded stick with small animal hooves suspended to produce the rattling sound during the Dog Dance.
Framing your Bodmers
About Karl Bodmer
In 1832-34 German explorer-naturalist Prince Maximilian of Weid-Neuweid traveled the interior regions of North America to document what he referred to as vanishing cultures, the tribes of Native Americans who live in what was then a vast wilderness west of the Mississippi. Accompanying him was 23-year-old Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809-93), whom Maximilian employed to capture a “faithful and vivid picture” of American Indian people. During their journey, Bodmer painted chiefs and warriors from the same tribes -- and in some cases the same individuals -- that Lewis & Clark met on their journey nearly three decades before.
If you'd like to see and learn more about this fascinating body of work, click here to buy Karl Bodmer's America at Amazon.com