Dance to the Berdash (Q20486759)

Label from: English (en)

artist: George Catlin (Q455133)
collection: Smithsonian American Art Museum (Q1192305)
location: Smithsonian American Art Museum (Q1192305)
country of origin: United States of America (Q30)
material used: oil paint (Q296955) canvas (Q4259259)
instance of: painting (Q3305213)
Smithsonian American Art Museum ID: 4023

information from the Smithsonian American Art Museum catalog

description: “Dance to the Berdashe is a very funny and amusing scene, which happens once a year or oftener, as they choose, when a feast is given to the ‘Berdashe,’ as he is called in French . . . who is a man dressed in woman's clothes, as he is known to be all his life, and for extraordinary privileges which he is known to possess, he is driven to the most servile and degrading duties, which he is not allowed to escape; and he being the only one of the tribe submitting to this disgraceful degradation, is looked upon as medicine and sacred, and a feast is given to him annually.” George Catlin first sketched the scene at a Sac and Fox village in 1835. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 56, 1841; reprint 1973)
keywords Ceremony – dance Figure group – male Western Ethnic – Indian – Sauk and Fox

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