Sep 24, 2020 - Sale 2546

Sale 2546 - Lot 18

Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(AMERICAN INDIANS--PHOTOGRAPHS.) Cabinet card of 5 Seris from Tiburón Island in Mexico. Albumen photograph, 4 x 5 1/2 inches, on original plain mount, captioned "Group of Ceris" on verso with annotated period news clipping laid down; minimal wear. Np, circa 1891-95

Additional Details

The Seri people of the Gulf of Mexico were long renowned as warriors who resisted assimilation into Mexican society; their language is thought to be unrelated to any other. They have often been described as being of unusual height; a newspaper clipping on verso states that they are "nearly all measuring six feet four inches," a claim dismissed by the card's early owner as "fabulous."
The date and attribution of this well-known photograph are uncertain. Several sources credit the photographer as Alfredo Laurent, a Frenchman based in Guaymas, in 1891 or 1892. It was published in W.J. McGee's Bureau of American Ethnology study, The Seri Indians, in 1898 (facing page 120). The title there is "Group of Seri Indians on Trading Excursion." The book's photographs were said to be taken in 1894 and 1895 by William Dinwiddie and John Walter Mitchell. The clipping laid down on verso of this example was published circa April 1888, and is captioned in ink "1882."