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Noh Hu Nah Wih (Chief Killer)

Ledger Drawing

attributed to Noh Hu Nah Wih (Chief Killer, 1849-1922), Cheyenne, Central Plains, ca. 1875-78


Learn more about Noh Hu Nah Wih (Chief Killer, 1849-1922)

Noh Hu Nah Wih (Chief Killer, 1849-1922) was one of the foremost artists producing drawings at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida, between 1875 and 1878. His work is of a very distinct style marked by the firm outlining of figures, with each field filled with a variety of colours. Human figures are rendered with rounded foreheads, long slightly upturned noses, curving nostrils as well as prominent and at times pointed chins. Noh Hu Nah Wih's well-proportioned horses commonly appear in profile with angular backs, long legs, and prominent hoofs. The artist alternated between strong colouring in some areas, and light or no colouring in others. Each colour is applied with different degrees of pressure, creating a broad range of intensity of hue, a technique that is rarely seen in pre-reservation Ledger Art. Noh Hu Nah Wih's drawings of Plains life typically appear on a blank page with no further indication of setting or environment. This absence of contextual backdrop was supplemented by the warrior’s verbal recounting of the scene depicted. By contrast, Noh Hu Nah Wih's drawings of prison life frequently emphasize spatial arrangement and architectural details. The careful depiction of societal regalia, including blankets, ceremonial dress, breast and hair plates, shields, war bonnets, quivers, and lances, serve to identify the individual figures in the drawings. During the pre-reservation era, such personal adornment denoted membership in specific warrior societies, each design signifying the wearer's identity and individual status within the society. 

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