Kiowa warrior’s sketchbook tops $396K at Heritage Auctions

A page from Kiowa warrior Etahdleuh Doanmoe’s 1875 sketchbook of 33 images. Price realized: $396,500. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – A Kiowa warrior’s book of drawings documenting his captivity by the U.S. Army in 1875 sold for $396,500 in Heritage Auctions’ June 26 Ethnographic Art Auction, pushing the sale to more than $1 million. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The bound book of 33 images is a stunning discovery of the earliest recorded drawings by Etahdleuh Doanmoe, one of 71 tribal members imprisoned in an effort to force Western assimilation and crush resistance to reservations. The auction also offered Self-Portrait, Etahdleuh Doanmoe, Kiowa, circa 1878 – the only known self-portrait by Etahdleuh in his full war panoply – which sold for $27,500, and Kiowa Ledger Drawing, circa 1878, also by Etahdleuh Doanmoe, which sold for $25,000.

This only known self-portrait by Etahdleuh Doanmoe, Kiowa, circa 1878 road to $27,500. Heritage Auctions image

“Etahdleuh is considered a master artist in a genre called ledger art, which is an extension of traditional paintings done on buffalo robes,” said Delia Sullivan, senior specialist of Ethnographic Art at Heritage. “The group was an exceptionally historic find.”

An imposing, hand-painted panel recording a scene from the Blackfoot War by a chief known as Big Spring, sold for $23,750. Measuring 103 inches wide, the war record panel is one of many painted by elderly Blackfoot warriors for display in the hotels at Glacier National Park.

Hand-painted panel recording a scene from the Blackfoot War by a chief known as Big Spring, circa 1915,103in wide. Price realized: $23,750. Heritage Auctions image

An 1880s Sioux girl’s beaded hide dress with a belt ended at $10,625. A fascinating Sioux buffalo hide bow case and quiver, accompanied by three arrows and a sinew backed bow, closed for $10,000.

Sioux girl’s beaded hide dress with belt, 1880s. Price realized: $10,625 Heritage Auctions image

Among the highlights of the auction’s selection of tribal art, included a 36-inch-long coil of Solomon Islands feather money from Tevau, Santa Cruze, which sold for $18,750. The currency was fashioned from wood, fiber and feathers from the scarlet honeyeater, whose red feathers were an insignia of rank and divinity in Polynesia.

A gold necklace dated to A.D. 200 to 400 from Calima, Colombia, brought $10,000 and a separate gold necklace from the same era, sold for $8,000. An Olmec jade scepter, from 1,000 to 500 B.C., sold for $7,500.

Additional highlights include:
– Night Guard, circa 1985, a bronze by Apache artist Allan Houser, sold for $11,875.
– A Sioux beaded hide bow case and quiver with recurved bow and arrows, circa 1880. brought $6,875
– An Olmec jade blood-letter tool from about 1,000-500 B.C. sold for $5,750.