"Parley"

12" x 16" Oil on Linen

Seeing each other across this gulf in the landscape, the two parties sit their horses and wait until someone makes a move.  In this case, it is the trader who plays his hand and slowly walks his horse to an area accessible by all and goes about throwing out a calfskin and arrays tobacco and some beads on it and then sits and waits.  Soon enough, the leader of the Indian party walks his horse slowly forward and greets the trapper.  When the trapper sees that he carries a pipe, he knows he has a foot inside the door for serious trading.  This ritual will take some time before actual trading and bartering begins so the situation cannot be hurried.  Fortune will reward patience and persistence and so the process goes forward carefully - slowly but surely. Before the advent of regular trading posts, this was the equivalent of  door-to-door sales.  The gulf in the land is symbolic of the cultural gulf each faction faced in their relationship.

 

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