Old Arrow Maker

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Old Arrow Maker

Artist
Edmonia Lewis, born Greenbush (now Rensselaer), NY 1844-died London, England 1907
Luce Center Label
Edmonia Lewis's Old Arrow Maker illustrates an excerpt from the Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in which the character Minnehaha plaits "mats of flags and rushes" while her father makes "arrow-heads of jasper." They both look up to greet Hiawatha, whose presence is implied by the deer he brought as a token of marriage. Lewis often created sculptures of Native Americans, and possibly chose the character of Hiawatha because he was from the Ojibwa tribe, like her mother. The coming together of the Ojibwa and Dakota tribes may refer to Lewis's hopes for reconciliation between the North and South after the Civil War. In the story, Hiawatha later marries Minnehaha with the wish that ". . . old feuds might be forgotten/ And old wounds be healed forever."
Luce Object Quote
"At the doorway of his wigwamSat the ancient Arrow-maker…At his side, in all her beauty,Sat the lovely Minnehaha"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Song of Hiawatha, first published 1855
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Joseph S. Sinclair
modeled 1866, carved 1872
Object number
1983.95.182
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Type
Sculpture
Medium
carved marble
Dimensions
21 1/2 x 13 5/8 x 13 3/8 in. (54.5 x 34.5 x 34.0 cm.)
Department
Painting and Sculpture
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Topic
Figure group
Ethnic\Indian
Dress\ethnic\Indian dress
Occupation\craft\arrow maker
Object\game\deer
Record ID
saam_1983.95.182
GUID (Link to Original Record)
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/vk7d37823a8-df6a-4f42-934c-3c7024038c9f