(Documentary Artifact): One b/w negative of an unidentified man in front of a fire, holding up a blanket with people behind him. Photographed at night.
Notes on negative envelope:
86:15900-1216/ Davis Coll/ dup. Neg./ Indian in front of fire/ ?
*According to additional information provided on 10/2011 by a member of the E.H. Davis Project Scholar Advisory Committee: This appears to be a peon game. The man with the blanket in front of him is hiding his peone. The peones are a set of eight small tubular coyote bones each separately threaded on a leather thong that is held on a slipknot around the wrist. The four white bones are on one team and the four black bones are on the opposing team. Four men per team each try to trick the other team by changing how the bones are displayed. This is typically done under a blanket. The game is played at night after sunset and can go on for hours until sunrise. It is a gambling game.
**According to additional information provided on 10/2011 by Ken Hedges, Emeritus Curator of California Collections, San Diego Museum of Man and a member of the E.H. Davis Project Scholar Advisory Committee: I agree with the previous comment that this is a photo of a peon game. The pose with the blanket held up in front of the player is typical for the game. Variants of the game are played throughout California and the westernmost Great Basin. A copy of this photo, obtained by her from Davis, is in the Constance DuBois photo albums at the Museum of Man (image no. P001018) with the caption ‘Flash-light picture of peon game at fiesta.’ It is not specifically dated, but appears within a group of photos taken at the Mesa Grande fiesta in 1903.
***According to additional information provided on 10/2011 by a member of the E.H. Davis Project Scholar Advisory Committee: In addition to previous comments: It appears there are people standing behind the Peon Players. It is customary for men and women to sing for the team hiding their Peonies, and supportively bet for the team they are standing behind. The individuals would be relatives, or community members from the same location as the players.