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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: George Catlin: Ah-nó-je-nahge, He Who Stands on Both Sides, a Distinguished Ball Player
Ah-nó-je-nahge, He Who Stands on Both Sides, a Distinguished Ball Player


Ah-nó-je-nahge, He Who Stands on Both Sides, a Distinguished Ball Player
1835
George Catlin
oil on canvas
29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
1985.66.74

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“The two most distinguished ball-players in the Sioux tribe [see also 1985.66.75] . . . Both of these young men stood to me for their portraits, in the dresses precisely in which they are painted; with their ball-sticks in their hands, and in the attitudes of the play. We have had several very spirited plays here within the past few days; and each of these young men came from the ball-play ground to my painting-room, in the dress in which they had just struggled in the play.” George Catlin saw Sioux playing lacrosse at Fort Snelling in present-day Minnesota. The Sioux, he reported, played the game in much the same way as the Choctaw, the chief differences being the composition of their “tails,” which were made of quills rather than horsehair, and their use of one stick instead of two. (Catlin, <i>Letters and Notes</i>, vol. 2, no. 50, 1841; reprint 1973)

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