Exceptionally rare and original, 1896 Oversized Cabinet Card Photograph of Native American Sicangu / Brule Lakota Sioux Indian Medicine Man John Elk by J. Collier of Cincinnati, Ohio and originating from the files of the Rookwood Pottery Company where the Image was used as the basis for the Native American Portrait Illustrated Pottery manufactured in 1898 known as the "Zoo Series".This wonderful, period Card Mount Photograph measures approx. 4 3/8 by 5 3/4 and is mounted on its original photographer's mount (overall size of mount is 7 by 9). The subject is identified in period manuscript on the reverse that reads "John Elk - Medicine Man / Sioux". Further period manuscript text on the reverse reads Gift of J. Collier (taken at the Zoo in 1896)" and "Zoo series 1898.
There is also a hand inkstamp on the reverse identifying the original owner as "The Rookwood Pottery Company". In 1898 Rookwood Pottery Company produced a series of Pottery Vases decorated with portraits of Native American Lakota Sioux Indians which were taken from photographs taken by various Cincinnati, Ohio photographers while a group of 89 members of the band from the Rosebud Agency camped on the grounds of the Cincinnati Zoo during the summer of 1896. The photograph offered here is one of those Photographs and comes directly from the files of Rookwood as evidenced by the inkstamp and notations on the verso. The Image is a striking, bust portrait of the Brule Sioux Medicine Man wearing a hair pipe bone breastplate and a single coup feather in his hair. In 1895 a Wild West show appearing in Bellevue, Kentucky shut down unexpectedly leaving a band of Cree Indians from Montana who were appearing in the show stranded far from home and with little prospect for returning.The Cincinnati Zoo "came to the rescue" (of sorts) and offered the band a proposition that they really had no choice but to accept. The Indians signed contracts to work and live at the zoo in the summer of 1895. Zoo Director Thane Maynard looks back. They were not at all an exhibit, like you would imagine zoo animals on exhibit. It was a cultural exhibit as much as we might bring drummers from a far away place to show culture. In 1896 the Directors decided to hire another band to live on the grounds of the Zoo and again offer cultural exhibitions. As a result, the Sicangu (known as the Brule) Band of Lakota Sioux from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota brought 89 people to live and perform there. The zoo had to first get approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It was said the Indians liked living in Cincinnati.
It was certainly a contrast to their impoverished life on reservation where buffalo were almost extinct. In Cincinnati they lived an almost urban life, saw all the sights and went shopping.
It is speculated that they may have even ridden the streetcar. The Photograph offered here is one of those Images. This rare and wonderful, Native American Brule Lakota Sioux Cabinet Card Photograph is in very good condition.
The Photograph itself is very well preserved exhibiting sharp focus, strong contrast and rich, warm tonality. There is some light soiling to the Image.
While the Photo is well preserved, the card mount is soiled and has chipping at the corners as can be seen in the scans below. A very rare and original, 1896 Oversized Cabinet Card Photograph of Native American Sicangu / Brule Lakota Sioux Indian Medicine Man John Elk by Cincinnati photographer J. Collier from the files of the Rookwood Pottery Company and a fantastic addition to any collection!!
The item "1896 NATIVE AMERICAN LAKOTA SIOUX INDIAN CABINET CARD PHOTO OF JOHN ELK ROOKWOOD" is in sale since Friday, October 28, 2016. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Cultures & Ethnicities\Native American\ US\1800-1934\Photographic Images". The seller is "walnutts" and is located in Brewster, Massachusetts. This item can be shipped worldwide.