Plains Indians were artists as well as warriors, and Silver Horn
(1860-1940), a Kiowa artist from the early reservation period, may
well have been the most prolific Plains Indian artist of all
Known also as Haungooah, his Kiowa name, Silver Horn was a man
of remarkable skill and talent. Working in graphite, colored
pencil, crayon, pen and ink, and watercolor on hide, muslin, and
paper, he produced more than one thousand illustrations between
1870 and 1920. Silver Horn created an unparalleled visual record of
Kiowa culture, from traditional images of warfare and coup counting
to sensitive depictions of the sun dance, early Peyote religion,
and domestic daily life. At the turn of the century, he helped
translate nearly the entire corpus of Kiowa shield designs into
miniaturized forms on buckskin models for Smithsonian ethnologist
Born in 1860 when huge bison herds still roamed the southern
plains, Silver Horn grew up in southwestern Oklahoma. Son of a
chief and member of an artistically gifted family, he witnessed
traumatic changes as his people went from a free-roaming,
buffalo-hunting culture to reservation life and, ultimately, to
forced assimilation into white society. Although perceived as a
troublemaker in midlife because of his staunch resistance to the
forces of civilization, Silver Horn became to many a romantic
example of the "real old-time Indian."
In this presentation of Silver Horn's work, showcasing 43 color
and 116 black-and-white illustrations, Candace S. Greene provides a
thorough biographical portrait of the artist and, through his work,
assesses the concepts and roles of artists in Kiowa culture.
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