Cigar Store Indian

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Description

Wearing a headdress with lustrous ostrich feathers and a girdle with a scabbard, this fantasy figure of a Native American was carved by a master craftsman.

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Wearing a headdress with lustrous ostrich feathers and a girdle with a scabbard, this fantasy figure of a Native American was carved by a master craftsman. Note the precise way the buttoned tunic is depicted, buckling across the underlying muscles of the chest. With the demise of the clipper ship era in the late nineteenth century, figurehead carvers – such as the maker of this piece – began to produce other carved items; such as carousel animals, advertising figures for shop entrances and elaborate circus wagons.

'His statement ‘I made Indians only when there was a lack of other work or to keep my apprentices employed’ clearly summarises Melcher’s dismissive attitude towards this vernacular art form for which he is well remembered, and which collectors, dealers, and scholars throughout the country now value and respect.' Lee Kogan, Curator Emerita, American Folk Art Museum, New York

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Dated

From 1855 (circa) to 1865 (circa)

Keywords

Native American, ,

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Materials

» wood (plant material)
» paint (coating)

Technique

» carving (process)
» painting (coating)
» laminating

Production place

» United States of America

Collection

» Folk Art Collection

Dimensions

197.5x65cm

Object number

1960.15

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