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'Scalps dressed for the Dance', 1847.

'Scalps dressed for the Dance', 1847.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 24cm x 32cm


Engraving after Captain Seth Eastman, US Army, of a male and female scalp strung on frames, with combs, feathers and a pair of scissors. Native Americans believed that a trophy scalp transferred the powers of the scalped enemy to the owner. Scalping was formerly a custom in Europe and Asia, and not all Native American tribes practiced it. European colonists took scalps and heads themselves, and offered bounties for scalps which led to an escalation of intertribal warfare and more scalping. Illustration from 'Information respecting the history, condition and prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States. Part 2' by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864), published in Philadelphia in 1847.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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