Sold by Britannic Auctions for $96, this antique Native American photo is a CDV (carte-de-visite) which dates back to the 1860s. The studio portrait features a Native American man and woman wearing traditional dress.
The portrait sitters are identified on the reverse as “Climbing Bear” and “Chah-hah-cah”. Handwritten captions can prove invaluable in identifying and studying antique photographs like this one.
In the1860s, studio portraits of Native Americans were relatively common, particularly as the United States expanded westward and encountered indigenous peoples.
The demand for such portraits stemmed from both genuine interest in Native American culture and the burgeoning field of ethnography. Many Native Americans, including tribal leaders and individuals of prominence, sat for studio portraits, often as a means of asserting their identity in the face of cultural assimilation efforts by the U.S. government.
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