Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

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Edward S. Curtis - Elk Head and Sacred Pipe Bundle border=
Elk Head and Sacred Pipe Bundle
Volume, 12.5 x 9.5 inches
Vintage Photogravure
This photo was taken by Edward S. Curtis in 1907 and the story is as follows: According to the Lakota Legend they were a people with little knowledge of how to live or worship before the coming of a divine messenger named “White Buffalo Woman”. White Buffalo Woman left with her people along with her teachings a sacred calf pipe. At the time of Edward S. Curtis’ photograph Elk Head had been the keeper and protector of the pipe for 31 years with 6 other keepers prior to him. This myth is of relatively recent origin, about 368 years before Curtis met the tribe. This amount of time would have meant that Elk Head’s predecessors had protected the sacred pipe for about 56 years each. To the Lakota the pipe is the holiest of things.

Elk head holds the beaded and quilled pipe bag in this image while standing in the plains. The image was taken for Curtis’ volume three and was printed on Dutch Van Gelder. It is now available for sale in our Aspen Art Gallery.
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