Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

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Edward S. Curtis -   Plate 083 The Sun Dancer border=
Plate 083 The Sun Dancer
Portfolio, 22 x 18 inches
Vintage Photogravure
The sun dance was an important ritual in Native culture. From Edward S Curtis' Volume III: "As they dance, the performers never leave the spot on which they stand, the movement consisting in a slight upward spring from the toes and ball of the foot; legs and body are rigid. Always the right palm is extended to the yellow glaring sun, and their eyes are fixed on its lower rim. The dancer concentrates his mind, his very self, upon the one thing that he desires, whether it be the acquirement of powerful medicine or only success in the next conflict with the enemy."

In this image the Dancer is smoking a peace pipe and the detail in the photograph is so clear that one can see the smoke rising from his pipe. The subject is wearing a single feather and a simple loincloth. Much like Curtis’ description of the Sun Dance, the subject has his right palm extended towards the sky and he appears to be looking up as well.
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