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Tombs of Assiniboin Indians on Trees
[Leipzig: Schmidt and Guenther, 1922. From the scarce Leipzig edition printed from the original copper-plates. Limited in number, the prints from the Leipzig edition are more scarce than, and compare favorably to, the first edition. (David C. Hunt, "Karl Bodmer and the American Frontier," Imprint/Spring 85, p.18) An elemental scene painted by Bodmer on July 4, 1833, with the quiet spirituality of the place disturbed by the prowling wolves at the foot of the tree burials. The travelers aboard the steamer Assiniboine arrived at Fort Union, the uppermost point for steamer traffic just above the junction of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, on June 24, 1833, after a journey of seventy-five days up the Missouri River from St. Louis. They stayed until July 6, when they departed upriver by keelboat for Fort McKenzie. The Assiniboins, like the Sioux, frequently placed their dead on platforms secured to scaffolds or tree limbs: here the quietness of the place is emphasized by the luxuriant trees and undergrowth surrounding the clearing in which the burial stands. Karl Bodmer's images show great versatility and technical virtuosity and give us a uniquely accomplished and detailed picture of a previously little understood (and soon to vanish) way of life. Swiss-born Bodmer was engaged by Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied (1782-1867) specifically to provide a record of his travels in North America, principally among the Plains Indians. In the company of David Dreidoppel (Prince Maximilian's servant and hunting companion), their travels in North America were to last from 1832 to 1834. They arrived in Boston in July 1832, traveled on to Philadelphia, where they stayed with Napoleon Bonaparte's elder brother Joseph. From here they headed west across Pennsylvania across the Alleghenies to Pittsburgh and the Ohio country, visiting all the important German settlements en route. Their most important stop on their route west was at the utopian colony of New Harmony in Indiana. The Prince spent five months there in the company of some of the country's leading scientific men, and studying all the relevant literature on backcountry America. On 24 March 1833 the party reached St. Louis, Missouri, and the start of the journey into Indian country. David C. Hunt, "Karl Bodmer and the American Frontier," Imprint /Spring 1985, p.18. Cf.Graff 4648; cf. Howes M443a; cf. Pilling 2521; cf. Sabin 47014; cf. Wagner-Camp 76:1. Hand-coloured aquatint engraving by Aubert père after Bodmer.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-10-10           Check availability:      Biblio    

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