George Catlin - Sha-có-pay, The Six, Chief of the Plains Ojibwa - Google Art Project.jpg
ArtistGeorge Catlin
MediumOil on canvas[1]
Dimensions73.7 cm × 60.9 cm (29.0 in × 24.0 in)[1]
LocationSmithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Sha-có-pay is an oil-on-canvas painting from life by American artist George Catlin, who used oil paint to create the art. It depicts an indigenous American named Sha-có-pay (which means "The Six" in the Dakota language), who was chief of the Plains Ojibwe.[1]

Catlin traveled throughout Western North America and painted Indians at a time when the only contact with Whites was from explorers and traders. The painting shows traditional Plains Ojibwe clothing such as a beaded buckskin shirt, a buffalo-hide robe, eagle feathers, hair pipes, and a beaded necklace that is unique to the tribes of the northernmost plains (Ojibwe and Cree). The portrait was painted during a trip to Fort Union in 1832.[2]

Catlin said:

The chief of that part of the Ojibbeway tribe who inhabit these northern regions … is a man of huge size; with dignity of manner, and pride and vanity, just about in proportion to his bulk. He sat for his portrait in a most beautiful dress, fringed with scalp locks in profusion; which he had snatched, in his early life from his enemies' heads, and now wears as proud trophies and proofs of what his arm has accomplished in battles with his enemies. His shirt of buckskin is beautifully embroidered and painted in curious hieroglyphics, the history of his battles and charts of his life.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Sha-có-pay, The Six, Chief of the Plains Ojibwa". Smithsonian.
  2. ^ Peers, Laura Lynn, The Ojibwa of Western Canada, 1780 to 1870. University of Manitoba. 1994.
  3. ^ Catlin, George, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, p. 58, pl. 35. Harvard College Library. 1941.

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