The Life of Ten Bears: Comanche Historical Narratives

By Francis Joseph Attocknie; Thomas W. Kavanagh | Go to book overview

30   Comanche Pictographs

[This chapter was assembled from scattered notes.]

Among the signs and results of human habitation at a Comanche base campsite, from where the Comanche warrior-plunderers struck out on their plundering raids into Mexico, Attocknie the horse-warrior saw a sight that firmly impressed itself upon his memory. There were remains of campfires old and new, the older having more bones from which warriors had eaten were laying about, the difference in age showing by the difference in the bones’ whiteness. There were numerous drawings and pictographs about the campsite which Comanche warrior-artists had recorded on rocks, rock walls, whitened animal bones, and on tree trunks various events which [illegible] had of recording for any following horsewarriors to decipher and read.

As anticipated by the artists, their drawing attracted the warriors of Attocknie’s party. These warriors, Attocknie included, [illegible] the various pictographs.

The sight or drawings which firmly impressed itself on Attocknie’s memory was a picture of a bob-tailed yellow mule. Two warriors were pictured as mounted on the mule. The [illegible] rider carried a feather fan. The figures of two women both wearing red-sleeved dresses were pictured as standing under the mule-mounted warriors, to all purposes giving the warriors a drink out of the two buckets that were sitting on the ground by the women. Dresses with red sleeves are specifically reserved for only the womenfolk—wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers—of tribal headmen and battle heroes. One of the buckets, which were probably brass from their yellow color, had its bale pictured as being up.

The artist had skinned the bark off of a red cedar tree next to the ground just where a root had [illegible] and went into the ground. On the smooth surface exposed by the bark removed, the artist had drawn the romantic episode he wished to record. The drawing had been done long enough ago for the bark to have started growing back over the skinned-off surface.

      ▸▸▸

Another such Comanche pictograph drawn by one of these plundering base campsites had an aftermath that was probably not anticipated by

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