Counting Coup (Medicine Whip) by Charles M. Russell

Name: Counting Coup (Medicine Whip) | Artist: Charles M. Russell Media: Oil on canvas | Year(s): 1902
Charles M. Russell | Counting Coup (Medicine Whip) | 1902 | Oil on canvas | 18 1/8 inches x 30 1/8 inches

About the Work

In intertribal warfare, Coup was a system of graduated points wherein the first man to touch an enemy was awarded a first coup or "direct hit." Credit was given for touching, not killing, an adversary, except in hand-to-hand-combat. It was the daring required of close contact for which the honor was given. To count coup, one might use his hand, bow, lance or perhaps rattles or whips. Counting Coup showed a battle between the Bloods (a branch of the Blackfeet) and the Sioux, and was based on a story of valor told Russell by an old blood warrior, Medicine Whip, in Alberta in 1888.