“CALLING THE BUFFALO”
Lewis and Clark record in their journals that upon arriving at a Mandan Indian encampment, they witnessed a Buffalo Dance. The next morning, all arose to see buffalo on the horizon to be hunted. Many of the animal were killed that day – providing food for the tribe.
Many Native Americans had the belief that the buffalo came out of Mother Earth. I can easily see how living on the plains and witnessing millions of buffalo thundering up out of the rolling hills lends credence to that belief.
For this ceremonial dance, the Mandan men would put on a buffalo headdress, hold a shield close to their bodies (representing the buffalo’s hump), place a buffalo tail in the back flap of their loin cloth and mimic the movements and bellowing of this sacred animal.
While sculpting this piece, I had the inspiration, to place buffalo moiling in the earth (as if coming out of the ground). I also felt to mass up between the Indians arms and legs, as if he too is coming out the ground.