Mandan Shrine


The hide-wrapped poles in this scene are effigies of the sun and the moon, which in turn symbolize two of the most powerful Mandan deities: the Lord of Life, creator of all things; and the Old Woman Who Never Dies, who was associated with corn and the buffalo. Religion permeated every aspect of Mandan life, and no major decision or undertaking was made without first seeking the help of a sacred being, as the Mandan standing before this shrine is presumably doing. Such supplications often involved fasting and sacrifice or offerings. In Tableau 25 1 the aquatint based on this watercolor, there are three knives and an ax at the foot of the poles, evidently gifts to the deities.


watercolor on paper


10 1/4 x 7 7/8

Call No.


Approximate Date of Creation

November 1833