Cheyenne ledger drawing sets record at Heritage Auctions

Cheyenne ledger drawing

A Southern Cheyenne ledger drawing by Howling Wolf (1849-1927), circa 1875. Price realized: $106,250. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – A ledger drawing by a Southern Cheyenne artist soared to $106,250, setting a world record for a single ledger drawing and leading Heritage Auctions’ Ethnographic Art: American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Auction to $1.2 million in total sales May 29. The auction boasted sell-through rates of more than 93% by value and by lots sold. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The auction’s top lot was part of the collection of Keith and Sara Reeves, who have spent more than half a century researching and pursuing artwork in an ongoing effort to improve their collection.

A Southern Cheyenne ledger drawing by Howling Wolf  (above) soared to more than five times its low estimate before finishing as the auction’s top lot and establish the new standard for individual ledger drawings. The watercolor and ink on paper artwork measures 23¼ by 14 inches and depicts a warrior society meeting.

“Howling Wolf, a Southern Cheyenne warrior, is the only Plains artist known to have created ledger drawings in all three phases of that art form: before the reservation era, during his prison exile at Fort Marion and after his return to the reservation,” said Delia Sullivan, Heritage Auctions’ senior ethnographic art specialist.

Nearly a dozen collectors pursued a large and important Gran Cocle gold pendant (below) from Panama until it finished at $50,000, against an auction estimate of $20,000-$30,000. This impressive cast tumbaga pendant is in the form of a male holding a hollow cone-shaped object (perhaps a drum) and a long thin rod up to his mouth with his other hand.

Cheyenne ledger drawing

A large and important Gran Cocle gold pendant, Panama, circa 1100–1500, 4¾in high. Price realized: $50,000. Heritage Auctions image

An important Nazca tunic from Peru found a new home at $32,500. Exceptional in both quality and size, this tunic is a masterpiece of Nasca weaving, composed of narrow bands of rectangles with repeated motifs of a stepped diagonal and a wide cross in alternating color combinations.

Cheyenne ledger drawing

An important Nazca tunic from Peru, circa 100 B.C.–A.D. 800, 59in x 61in. Price realized: $32,500. Heritage Auctions image

A Nez Perce or Blackfeet bear warrior society shirt ended at $30,000. Made from hide, pigment, fur, glass seed beads, glass pony beads, porcupine quills and metal, the lot was accompanied by a custom metal stand and a painted cloth cylindrical bonnet case in which it was presented by the Crow to their friend, artist Bernard Preston Thomas.

Cheyenne ledger drawing

A Nez Perce or Blackfeet Bear Warrior Society shirt, circa 1850. Price realized: $30,000. Heritage Auctions image

A Sioux quilled hide jacket belonging to Chief Rain-in-the-Face brought $27,500. A war chief from the Lakota tribe, Chief Rain-in-the-Face was among the Indian leaders who defeated George Armstrong Custer and the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment at the 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn. The jacket, which includes natural and dyed porcupine quills, was accompanied by a cabinet card that shows it being worn by Chief Rain-in-the-Face.

Cheyenne ledger drawing

A Sioux Quilled hide jacket belonging to Chief Rain-in-the-Face, circa 1885. Heritage Auctions image

Other top lots included:
– A Cheyenne Ledger drawing by Old White Woman (T.B. Robe): $22,500.

– An Apache beaded hide tobacco bag: $17,500.

– A large Diquis gold figure: $16,250.

– A Plains pipe tomahawk: $16,250.

– A Sioux ledger drawing that depicts an American Indian on horseback capturing an enemy’s horse: $15,625.


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