This warrior’s spiritual ally from the animal world is the badger, easily provoked and fierce in battle. The arresting portrait embodies many of Howard’s skills as a painter and storyteller.
The figure, although motionless, has strong visual movement. The badger headdress rises off the canvas as the light-colored thongs frame the warrior’s painted face. Blue background highlights push the painted buffalo robe forward, the better for the viewer to see its painted stories.
Throughout his career, Howard never took shortcuts with authenticity regardless of the time and effort in finding the “real” thing. Note this individual’s 1840s moccasins and the pipe bag in his arms.