Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Dying Tecumseh and the Birth of a Legend

The Dying Tecumseh and the Birth of a Legend

 Smithsonian Magazine |

A sculpture in the Smithsonian collection reveals much about how the Indians of the West were viewed in the early ages of the United States

Tecumseh (Smithsonian American Art Museum) Sculptor:
Frederick Pettrich (1856)
The subject is a reclining, heroically proportioned man whose dignified and noble demeanor is unaffected by a bullet hole in the right temple.
The gleaming white sculpture is entitled The Dying Tecumseh, but any resemblance to the mortal Shawnee leader of that name is entirely coincidental. He died in battle and was disfigured by enemy soldiers 25 years before Pettrich began this work. While alive he posed for no known portrait. Nevertheless it is singularly appropriate that this is an imaginary figure, for no one else of Tecumseh's race and few of any other have had such a powerful and abiding impact on the collective American imagination.

Visit the Official Website of the Piqua Shawnee at

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