Hethuska Society Painted Hide, c. 1880s, probably Ponca, depicting drummers, a buffalo hunter, and a multitude of dancing warriors wearing regalia associated with this particular dance, mounted on a linen-covered wood frame, (some restoration), the hide 51 x 44 1/2 in.
Provenance: Collected by Edwin Knickerbocker Losee (1863-1934), who lived in Upper Red Hook, New York, and worked as a physician in that town. Following graduation from medical school, in 1890 his father sent him on a railroad trip across the United States, heading west on the Northern Pacific line. During his trip he took several side trips through country only recently accessible due to the completion of the railroad such as Kansas and Nebraska. It is assumed that he purchased the hide on one of these side trips. He also visited Pompei's Pillar along the Yellowstone River, and Gardner, Montana, to see the newly established Yellowstone Park. Losee left a photographic album of his journey that documents several events and landscapes along his routes, copies of several are provided with the lot. He recorded his return trip on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad through Colorado, and he is pictured posing in front of a wigwam on that trip.
Following Edwin's death, the hide was passed to his son, James Knickerbocker Losee (1899-1982), and was displayed in his home, "The Boulderado Ranch," in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the 1940s and 50s.
Note: For an in-depth dissertation on what became known as the "Grass Dance," visit www.powwows.com/ponca-hethuska-society/.
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