Mandan Chief in Full Headdress
Karl Bodmer originally painted Four Bears, a.k.a. Mató-Tópe, in watercolor during his travels in the Western Plains. This is a reduced lithograph version of the plate that originally appeared in 1841 in the larger pictorial atlas of Prince Maximilian of Wied's monumental travel account of the Western Plains. The present lithograph, by J. Honegger, was issued in 1845 in Zurich as plate no. 38 in H. R. Schinz’s Naturgeschichte und Abbildungen des Menschen. It is interesting to note that the present lithograph is a mirror-image of Bodmer's original watercolor painting (as well as the plate in Maximilian's original pictorial atlas), with Four Bears shown here facing right and holding the feather-laden lance in his left hand.
Four Bears was described by Prince Maximilian in his travel narrative:
... this eminent man .... being not only a distinguished warrior, but possessing many fine and noble traits of character. In war he always maintained a distinguished reputation; and on one occasion, facing great personal danger, he conducted to Fort Clarke a numerous deputation of the Assiniboins, who had come to Mih-Tutta-Hang-Kush to conclude peace, while his countrymen, disregarding the proposals, kept firing upon the deputies.
Mató-Tópe indeed strikes a most dignified pose, wearing a large flowing feathered headdress that reaches down to his calves, the mark of a distinguished warrior. He also wields an impressive lance decorated with numerous feathers and at least one scalp.