Unknown Native Mexican artist
Detail of Segesser hide painting depicting European and Plains Indian warriors.
Mexico (before 1758)
Sante Fe Museum of New Mexico.
In 1758 Segesser sent his brother in Switzerland “three colored skins”, or hide paintings. They depict Spaniards, Frenchmen, Oto, Pawnee, Apache and Pueblo Indians. They provide important information on the dress and weapons of Plains Indian fighters.
The paintings appear to depict the 1720 battle near the Loup River between the Villasur expedition and a force of Pawnees and Otoes. Segesser gave no indication of how he had acquired the paintings or of their significance, simply calling them “curiosities”. Over the years the buffalo hide paintings were moved from one Swiss castle to another, and were cut so they could fit the available space. Eventually they were discovered for what they are, and moved to the Sante Fe Museum of New Mexico.