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Ledger Drawing

attributed to Mad Bull
Mad Bull Ledger Book (inside cover)
Southern Arapaho
Central Plains

ca. 1880

graphite and coloured pencil on lined paper

height: 6"
width: 14 ¾""

Inventory # P4353-1

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Inside cover of the Mad Bull Ledger Book. The inside cover depicts a warrior on horseback approaching a woman cloaked in a beautiful blanket and holding an umbrella. A number of smaller human and animal figures frame the composition. Several handwritten inscriptions have been added by successive owners of the Ledger Book. Mad Bull’s name as well as his national identity have been extrapolated from stylistic features of the drawings themselves. Only a handful of the many warriors depicted in the ledger book were identified by their glyphs. Ben Clark, a settler who was assigned as “post interpreter” at Fort Reno in 1878, has translated the bison glyph associated with the headdress-wearing, horseback-riding warrior on page 82 into English as “Mad Bull.” It can thus be concluded that Mad Bull is the name of the Southern Arapaho warrior artist who created the extraordinary drawings of these ledger pages.


Collected at Fort Reno, Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency, Oklahoma, by Palmer Tilton, Lieut. 20th US Infantry and subsequently gifted on March 27th, 1884 to E.F Riggs, Esq. 
Donald Ellis Gallery, Dundas, ON
Private Collection, Toronto, ON


An undated photograph of Mad Bull from the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cat. Nr. 4327.3764