Interior of a Mandan Earth Lodge


This scene shows the interior of the Mandan lodge that was the home of Dipauch, an old and respected man who told Maximilian much about the history and beliefs of his people. Portions of the picture were sketched over a period of several months at Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kusch from early December, 1833, until mid-April of the following year. It is an outstanding example of Bodmer's careful rendering of detail: note the heavy central supporting pillars and roof beams of the lodge; the shields, lances, and medicine symbols of the warrior; and the paraphernalia of everyday life such as the cooking jars and utensils on the floor, the hanging pouches and powder horns, and even a traditional leather, boxlike family bed barely discernible against the far back wall. On the reverse of the painting is a faint pencil floor plan of this or a similar lodge. A finished, virtually identical version of this watercolor appeared as Tableau 19 of the aquatint atlas. The scene has since been reproduced in many other publications, and is justifiably valued for its ethnographic importance and artistic excellence.


watercolor and ink on paper


11 1/4 x 16 7/8

Call No.


Approximate Date of Creation

April 1834