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The artist tells us this about his bronze.
"Four Bears was the principle chief of the Mandan’s in the 1830’s. There are many descriptions of his dress as he was a favorite model of both Bodmer and Catlin.
From accounts I’ve read, the headdress depicted here is full of symbolism. The eagle feathers in his hair are symbols of coups and the split turkey feather indicates an arrow wound. The owl feathers show his membership in the Dog Society and the six wooden sticks represent bullet wounds he had endured. The knife he took from a Cheyenne warrior in hand to hand combat is replicated by the knife he wears in his hair and he is shown carrying his favorite tomahawk."