Painting American Indians – Buffalo Hump


Buffalo Hump was a chief among the Penateka Comanche. He is famous for leading the Great Linnville Raid of 1840 where the Comanche raided all the way to the gulf coast in Texas. Victoria and Linnville were attacked and looted. Linnville was burned to the ground and never rebuilt. The raid was a revenge raid for the killing of Comanche leaders during “peace negotiations” in what is called “The Council House Fight.”

Buffalo Hump is usually depicted in art wearing a top hat and carrying a parasol or umbrella. This is an assumption for we really don’t know what he was wearing. The assumption is based on a couple of things. One, the leader of a raiding party usually got his pick of the loot and sometimes got all of it. (Sounds a bit like Agamemnon.) Some of the warriors were wearing top hats, boots, and frock coats from the looted warehouses at Linville. One warrior thus attired and carrying a “brightly colored” shield was in a group of warriors wearing war bonnets and horned buffalo caps. The Texas militia was of the opinion that this group was the chiefs. Therefore, it was assumed that the warrior wearing the fine coat, top hat, and boots was Buffalo Hump. I have no idea where the idea of him carrying a parasol came from.

Photographing the miniatures became a bit of a chore because of the umbrella. Using standard lighting, the face was always in the shadows, so I had to reposition one of the lamps to where it pointed straight at the face. While this made the face visible, it introduced a small amout of glare as well.

For his war paint, I chose to combine a bit of Hollywood. Half of his face is painted red, which is how Wes Studi portrayed Buffalo Hump in the dreadful miniseries “Comanche Moon.” The vertical white lines on the cheeks are from Eric Schweig’s portrayal of Buffalo Hump from the equally dreadful miniseries “Dead Man’s Walk.”

The war paint on the horse are symbols common to all of the plains tribes. The circle around the eyes is so the horse can see better; the hash marks on the legs indicate the number of coups the rider was proud of; the horseshoe symbols on the rump are for horse raids; and the white zig zag lines represent lightning bolts to impart power. The Indians did have saddles, but preferred to hunt or fight either bareback or using a blanket or robe on the horse’s back.

Colors Used
Buffalo Hump:
Skin: Redstone Shadow, Redstone, & Redstone Highlight all by Reaper
Hair: Reaper Walnut Brown
Coat: Ocean Blue & Marine Teal by Reaper
Loin Cloth: Reaper Green Ochre
Hat & Boots: Delta Ceramcoat Black blended with a drop of Folk Art Lipstick Red
Umbrella: Delta Ceramcoat Black blended with a drop of Anita’s Quarry Pebble (a light gray)
Pistol & Umbrella Handle: Reaper Chestnut Brown
Pistol Barrel: Reaper Adamantium Black
Buttons: Deco Art Venetian Gold

The Horse:
Coat: The mid-tone brown mixed in part 3
Legs: The black mixed in part 3
Socks & Markings: Reaper Linen White
Bridle: Reaper Tanned Leather
Saddle Blanket: Stained Ivory & Yellowed Bone by Reaper
Saddle Blanket Fringe: Stained Ivory blended with Green Ochre, both by Reaper
Symbols on Horse: Delta Ceramcoat Black, Reaper Linen White, & Folk Art Lipstick Red

I wish I could have gotten more painted this week, but the weather here in Dallas turned unexpectedly very warm causing Ragweed to bloom making my sinuses unbearable. As always your comments are welcome & helpful.