Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

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Edward S. Curtis - He Perceived an Earthen Vessel border=
Title:
He Perceived an Earthen Vessel
Date:
1908
Size:
Volume, 12.5 x 9.5 inches
Medium:
Vintage Photogravure
 
This Edward Curtis photo was taken in 1908 and depicts a reenactment of the Legend of Taking up the Bowl.

The Hidatsa tribe had a great ceremony in addition to the Sun Dance called the Ceremony of the Bowl. According to the legend a long time ago one of the tribe was fasting on a shore far from the village and crying to the spirits to pity him. Just before the sun went down he saw something on the shore where the waves had lapped the sand and he found it to be an earthen vessel marked with the track of a brant around its rim.

He took it home and that night he had a vision. The bowl spoke to him saying, "My child, I am Old Woman Who Never Dies. Hold me sacred, and I will bring you good fortune, for I have many friends among the spirits. The corn and buffalo-paunch are my food. I shall teach you the songs and rites of a ceremony that will cause your people to prosper and bring rain upon your crops. Make offerings to me of buffalo-paunches, and hang them before me on cottonwood stakes. Prepare a pipe and tobacco for Itsihkawahidish and Adhapushish, who aid me in making medicine, for they are men and like to smoke. All the birds and animals living on this lake are of my medicine. Let no man who has blood on his hands enter the lodge where this ceremony takes place, nor permit any woman to be present."

She revealed to him the rites of taking up the bowl. This would be a huge ceremony for the tribe.

This image was printed on Dutch Van Gelder paper and is available for sale in our Aspen Art Gallery.
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