The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 496
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Cover: Comanche gaving arrows to the Medicine Rock by George Catlin, c. 1837-
1839. O11 on canvas, I % x 27y% inches. Courtesy National Museum of Amecan
Art, Smzth.sonan Institution, Gif/ of Mrs. Jo.seph HaIrrson, Jr.
This painting is derived from an 1834 visit by George Catlin to Co-
manche villages near the Oklahoma-Texas border. In an 1848 cata-
logue of his Indian Gallery, he described the scene: "A curious super-
stition of the Camanchees: going to war, they have no faith in their
success, unless they pass a celebrated painted rock, where they appease
the spirit of war (who resides there), by riding by it at full gallop, and
sacrificing their best arrow by throwing it against the side of the ledge."
Recently, Dan L. Flores in Journal of an Indzan Trader, Anthony Glass and
the Texas Trading Frontzer, 1790- 8 o (College Station: Texas A&M
University Press, 1985, p. 98) has suggested that the Medicine Rock
painted by Catlin may be identical to the Wichita County iron mete-
orite, which was obtained on the Comanche reservation in 1856 by Maj.
Robert S. Neighbors and which now resides in the collection of the
Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas at Austin. This
identification is supported by an 186o account by Benjamin F. Shum-
ard, state geologist of Texas, describing the Wichita County meteorite:
"For many years its existence was known to the Comanches, who re-
garded it with the highest veneration, and believed it possessed of ex-
traordinary curative virtues. They gave to it the names 'ITa-pic-ta-car-re
(Standing Rock), Po-i-wisht-car-re (Standing Metal), and Po-a-cat-le-pi-
le-car-re (Medicine Rock), and it was the custom of all who passed by to
deposit upon it beads, arrow-heads, tobacco, and other articles, as
offerings." The history of this meteorite is included in a review of early
Texas astronomy by David S. Evans and Donald W. Olson in this issue
of the Quarterly.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/496/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.