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"His Spirit Calls", the seventh release in the Connoisseur's Series, is based on a favorite theme of Tiger's and one that is ever popular with people the world over. It is the belief that the spirit does not end with the death of the physical body, but continues to survive. The Plains Indian Tribes were a very spiritual people, and before their contact with the Christian missionaries they customarily placed their dead on scaffolds similar to those in the foreground of the painting. Their belief was that the body should be placed between this world and the spiritual world to lessen the distance that the spirit would have to travel. This awareness of the spiritual world, the unseen, was as much a part of Tiger as the tangible structures of his daily existence. He believed in a force greater than himself that guided his work and his life. Tiger's feelings of the ethereal are unmistakeable in the painting "His Spirit Calls". In Tiger's version, the Great Spirit is calling his warriors home.
By nature the Plains Indians were nomadic, and the buffalo herds were practically their sole source of food, clothing, shelter and utensils. When Winter set in and the herds moved South, the tribes packed their possessions and followed upon the huge animals' trail. When the herds stopped in the grassy lowlands or valleys, the Plains tribes camped close by, but usually on the higher ground to avoid scattering the herds. The Indians and buffalo lived side by side. There was a natural order and balance when the Indians and buffalo shared the plains before the white men began to kill off the herds for sport. As Summer came and the herd moved to the cooler North, the Indian families loaded up their belongings once again to return to their northern homelands. At least twice a year the tribes relocated to follow the herds. The first phase of the hunt was to scout the herd and plan the best strategy for attack based on such factors as weather, wind and terrain. In the second phase of the hunt, Tiger depicts the Indian's skill as hunters, surrounding the herd and coming in for the kill. The drama of the event, the force and action of the scene are an historical epic. The third and final scene portrays the Indians as tired, but victorious, dragging home their kill to present to the tribe. The importance of the kill to those waiting in the distant teepees, who based their lives on the hunting skills of the warriors, can not be overstated. When a hunt was a success everyone in the camp enjoyed days of feasting. In the Buffalo Hunt, Tiger has captured with classic expression the three main facets of the hunt: the scouting, the kill, and the return.
In the second of the Cultural Series, "Intermission", Jerome Tiger captures a moment of rest between stomp dances. The stomp dance is a 'prayer in motion'. It can symbolize thankfulness, supplication for a good harvest, rain, fertility or simply blessings. Typically the dances last through the night, sometimes continuting for days. Needless to say periods of rest and refreshment are neceessary; therefore, "Intermission". The stomp dances are unique in that they are not 'tourist' dances, for they are performed still today in the seclusion of the backwoods. The dancers dance in a circle around an open fire to a plaintive chant intoned by the leader and answered in unison by the dancers. The dances are accompanied by persistent drum beats and the rhythmic sounds of rock-filled turtle shells strapped to the womens' ankles. There is great artistry required in leading the chants, and the best leaders and dancers are awarded a postiion of high respect. Of particular interest in this painting is the adoption of the white man's apparel -- boots, jeans, and hats -- together with traditional Indian dress, symbolizing a subtle integration of the two cultures.