“Ritual Figure” Lithograph by Oscar Howe
There is sublimity in the figure who has carried out the ritual of purification in the self-sacrifice ceremony, where part of himself is given to his Wakan Tanka in exchange for an answer to a prayer. Usually the prayer is for mercy, and so it is understandably of deep religious significance. The reverent, consoled figure is in a relaxed falling position showing the end of a sacred ceremony. The thongs by which he hung, suspended from horizontal pole beams, are still attached to his hands. The figure as an entity of spatio-temporal religious meaning, created by the peaceful rhythmic atmosphere of religious yellow in varied diagonal tonal patterns, is a visual symbolism of reverence and peace likened to the mental and spiritual attitude of the praying Indian ending his ritual ceremony.
35.5in tall; 27in wide