Philadelphia: E.C. Biddle, 1837 (?). Hand-colored lithograph by Lehman & Duval after Charles Bird King (445 x 338 mm). Full-length standing portrait of male Sioux chief holding a rifle, wearing brightly colored blankets, feathered headdress, necklace of grizzly bear claws, and red leggings decorated with bird feathers. Very mild uniform age-toning (professionally washed, verso of upper left corner with Japanese tissue repair). Original lithograph - NOT a reproduction! Very good. Item #3456
Wa-Na-Ta (ca. 1795-1848) was an influential Sioux (Yanktona, on the Minnesota River) leader who fought against the Americans in the War of 1812, even leading a charge on Fort Sandusky, whence his nickname. For his exceptional heroism he was received at the English court and promoted to Captain. After the war, however, he sided with the U.S. In 1825, he signed the Treaties of Fort Pierre and Prairie du Chien, which established peace and territorial boundaries between the Sioux, Chippewas, Sac and Foxes, and Ioways. He was murdered by his people, who were upset with his leadership. Major Stephen H. Long met Wa-Na-Ta in 1835 and commented: “We had never seen a nobler face, or a more impressive character.”
When leaders of various tribes came to visit President Monroe in 1821, McKenney, Superintendent of Indian Affairs and a defender of Native American interests, commissioned artist Charles Bird King to paint portraits of the delegates in their choice of dress. Most of King’s original paintings subsequently burned in a fire at the Smithsonian. The lithographs in McKenney and Hall’s publication are the only extant record of the likenesses of many of the prominent Native American leaders of the nineteenth century.
See: Howes M129. Bennett, American Nineteenth-Century Color Plate Books, p. 79. Field 992. Lipperheide Mc4.