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Pocahontas

A work made of marble.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of marble.

Date:

1868

Artist:

Joseph Mozier
American, 1812–1870

About this artwork

This is not a historically accurate vision of Pocahontas but a deeply distorted yet enduring one rooted in myth. Born around 1595 with the name Matoaka, Pocahontas (her Algonquian nickname) was a Powhatan Indian who lived in the Tidewater region of present-day Virginia. A daughter of the leader of a Native confederacy of Algonquian-speaking people, she was kidnapped by British settlers as a young adolescent and taken to Jamestown, where she converted to Christianity, married John Rolfe, and then traveled to England, dying there in 1617.

Joseph Mozier portrayed Pocahontas with a tamed deer at her side and cross in hand, as if her religious and cultural transformation was a peaceful, self-directed act. Such imagery appealed to white audiences in the mid-19th century because it shaped an American origin story of romance, willing conversion, and domesticity, and effaced the violent circumstances of Pocahontas’s life and the brutal conquest of Native American people and lands.

On View

Arts of the Americas, Gallery 161

Artist

Joseph Mozier (Sculptor)

Title

Pocahontas

Origin

Rome

Date

1868

Medium

Marble

Inscriptions

Signed, dated, and inscribed (on the base): "J. MOZIER. Sc:/ROME. 1868" Titled (on the base): "POCAHONTAS"

Dimensions

H.: 121.8 cm (48 in.)

Credit Line

The Roger McCormick and J. Peter McCormick funds

Reference Number

1997.366

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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