Object Record

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Catalog Number X1963.01.02
Title SQUAW WITH BULL BOAT
Object Name Drawing
Artist Russell, Charles M. (1864-1926)
Dimensions H-14.5 W-10.5 inches
Medium Pen and Ink/Paper
Date 1901
Notes In 1901 Russell drafted a series of sixteen character sketches that have collectively become known as his "Western Types." Each features a full-scale portrait of a single, prototypical Westerner, augmented with a much smaller vignette executed beneath it to help provide context for that "type." Fourteen of the characters portrayed were men; the two females depicted were both Native American. One of only two women depicted in the Western Types series, Squaw with Bull Boat is also the only sketch in which the emblematic prop held by the titular character dominates the visual space to such a degree. Bull boats were women's crafts used by many Upper Missouri tribes. Made of bison hides stretched hair-side-out over a wooden (generally willow) framework, they were employed primarily to ferry passengers and supplies like firewood across rivers or for short trips up or downstream. The owner of this bull boat wears an elk-tooth dress, brass bracelets, and a beaded belt that holds a decorated knife sheath and from which is suspended a steel strike-a-light used for starting fires. The vignette illustrates a horse-drawn travois, another means of transporting goods that was part of the woman's domain.
Search Terms American Indian
Native American
Western Types
Missouri River
Bull Boat
Art