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  • Looking for Buffalo, Watching for Enemies – Cheyenne Warriors

Looking for Buffalo, Watching for Enemies – Cheyenne Warriors

5.00 LBS
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    Fine art LIMITED EDITION signed giclee - prices start at $235

    Each numbered print comes with a certificate of authenticity in your choice of high-quality watercolor paper or canvas. Paper prints are shipped rolled. Canvas prints have two finishing options: 1) Shipped rolled in a tube or 2) stretched and ready-to-hang with a gallery wrap finish. Your print will be shipped within 10 business days of purchase. Embellished giclees are only available as canvas, stretched, and ready-to-hang and take 8 to 10 weeks to complete. Read more about embellished giclees here.

    Do you have questions about Looking for Buffalo, Watching for Enemies?

    Please contact me at James Ayers studios with any questions you might have.

    About Looking for Buffalo, Watching for Enemies

    It is late-winter in the 1870s, two Cheyenne men survey their tribal homeland. Great changes are afoot--the land has too many American soldiers and too few buffalo. The journey these warriors undertake can mean the difference between life and death, not only for themselves but also for their families and tribe. They uphold their responsibility with solemn determination.

    About the warriors

    The warriors are well-equipped and ride on sturdy horses. The man on the right rides an appaloosa horse, seen through its distinct markings. He wears a red cloth trade shirt with a brass band on his arms. His hide leggings have many coup stripes on them--each stripe marking an achievement or demonstration of bravery on the battlefield. His feet are covered with beaded moccasins and he wears eagle feathers in his hair. The rifle the warrior on the right carries is a Winchester Yellow Boy rifle, a powerful rifle of the time, beginning production in 1866. This weapon was a favorite of the Plains tribes because it was one of the first repeating rifles. Warriors and hunters could use it to shoot far faster than they could notch arrows into their bows. Plains people traded and raided to acquire these valuable firearms. The warrior on the left wears more traditional clothing. He wears a war shirt, featuring beaded strips and fringes with human hair. The hair would have been from members of the man’s tribe, demonstrating his duty to protect and serve his community. His leggings are made of trade blanket, adorned with beads. He carries his medicine shield, a highly personal and spiritual item, which would have been decorated with symbols of great significance to the warrior. He sits atop a paint horse, with a braided bridle. He carries the traditional armament of a bow and quiver.

    About the composition

    The composition of this painting centers around the warriors. They form a triangle, with the top being the right warrior’s head. This construction keeps your eyes in the painting and focused on the warriors. The background is comprised of waving horizontals, seen in both the ground and the mountains. Notice the dramatic contrast in coloration. The mountains are cool and blue, while the grass is warm and golden. Further contrasting with the mountains are the horses’ brown coats and the right warrior’s red trade shirt. This work is also “backlit”, helping to further bring the warriors in focus.

    About the Cheyenne

    The name “Cheyenne “ was the Lakota word for the tribe meaning “people of a different speech”; the Cheyenne actually called themselves Tsetchestahase, meaning “our people” or “beautiful people.” Originally farmers who lived in permanent villages, the lifeways of the Cheyenne changed dramatically in the late 1700s when the tribe gained use of the horse. They chronicle their society’s change in lifestyle with a legend that they “lost the corn,” i.e., they gave up planting crops. The Cheyenne continued to migrate west. By the 1830s the Cheyenne split into branches: the Southern Cheyenne settled in what is now western Kansas and eastern Colorado; the Northern Cheyenne made their home along the headwaters of the Platte river. The Northern and Southern Cheyenne eventually formed alliances with the Northern and Southern Arapaho. These groups, along with the Comanche, Kiowa, and Lakota were some of the most important players in the fight to maintain their traditional life on the Great Plains.

    About the setting of Looking for Buffalo, Watching for Enemies

    I purposely created this painting to have an ambiguous locale, so that it could represent either the Northern or Southern Cheyenne. The mountains are not part of a specific range; rather, they are symbolic of the grandeur of Rockies in general. This scene could be in Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana where the Great Plains meet the mountains. I have hiked all around the Rockies and the Plains. The scene depicted in Looking for Buffalo, Watching for Enemies is based on one such research trip. I noticed the dramatic contrast between the warm grass and cool mountains. I wanted to create a piece that would accentuate the difference between the two tones.

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