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Taking the Hump Rib
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Taking the Hump Rib

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Extracts from Alfred Jacob Miller’s original text, which accompanied his images of Native Americans, are included below for reference. "With the aid of two or three of the hunters the Buffalo is raised from his fallen position and places in a sitting posture, in order to take that most superlative morceaux, the "Hump rib." A cut is made longitudinally with a knife, the skin on each side flapped down on the shoulder,- and a trapper to the right in the sketch is receiveing a tomahawk in order to separate the spinal process. After this valuable piece is secured, the fleece and side ribes follow, and the balance, if there is no pressure in the camp, is left for the expectant wolves, who appear to claim it as their perquisite, and often are sitting at a distance watching their interests in the matter. The horse to the left is new to the business and is alarmed at the smell of blood and carnage. Directly in front of him is a Sumpter mule, equipped to bear the meat to camp." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837). In July 1858 William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at twelve dollars apiece from Baltimore born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text, and were delivered in installments over the next twenty-one months and ultimately were bound in three albums. Transcriptions of field-sketches drawn during the 1837 expedition that Miller had undertaken to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (in what is now western Wyoming), these watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.
Date Description Narrative
5/09/1991Loan Considerationexamined for loan
10/01/1991Treatmentmounted; re-housed
  • Seeds of Change. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington. 1991.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1858-1860, by commission; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Monogram] Lower right: AJMiller
Credit Commissioned by William T. Walters, 1858-1860

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watercolor on paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
8 5/16 x 12 5/16 in. (21.1 x 31.3 cm)
  • USA (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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