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A double-sided drawing of a Ute chasing a Cheyenne warrior | Donald Ellis Gallery
A double-sided graphite and coloured pencil Ledger Drawing of the US military | Donald Ellis Gallery

Ledger Drawing

attributed to Mad Bull
Mad Bull Ledger Book (pgs. 82 and 81)
Southern Arapaho
Central Plains

ca. 1880


graphite and coloured pencil on lined paper

height: 6"
width: 14 ¾"

Inventory # P4353-5


Pages 81 and 82 of the Mad Bull Ledger Book. Page 81 depicts members of the U.S. Infantry and their commander on horseback. A handwritten inscription at the top right of page 82 reads ‘Ute chasing Cheyenne (Mad Bull).’ 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