Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

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Edward S. Curtis - A
Title:
A "Catcher" Picking up a Snake
Date:
1906
Size:
Volume, 9.5 x 12.5 inches
Medium:
Vintage Photogravure
Signed:
Unsigned
 
An elaborately costumed man bends over to pick up a snake. He does this as a part of an elaborate ceremony in which he has chosen to take on this task. Taken from one of Edward Curtis’ volumes, the decision on who will become the “Catcher” below:

After the snake priests have their evening meal, the chief says, "Now decide among you what you are going to do tomorrow". Then they arrange themselves in threes, by choice, and each trio discusses the question, who shall dance with the snakes, who shall be the "hugger", and who shall be the "catcher”. The discussion lasts late into the night, for most men are reluctant to hold the snakes in their mouths; indeed there are some priests who never handled the reptiles in the dance. But at last someone in each group loses patience and recklessly declares that he will take the part, and when all is settled, they partake of a meal, and the chief selects four of those who are to handle snakes and sends them to plant pahos in the four quarters…. - Edward Curtis

This photogravure was taken in 1906 and in on display in our Aspen Art Gallery.
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