The Indian Hunter is a striking bronze statue by John Quincy Adams Ward (1830–1910). It brilliantly depicts a Native American hunter, bow in hand, restraining his snarling hunting dog. Cast in 1866 and dedicated on February 4, 1869, the statue was the first sculpture by an American artist to be placed in Central Park, and is one of the oldest works on outdoor display in the park.
The Indian Hunter derives from Ward’s artistic exploration of that theme beginning in the late 1850s; he displayed a smaller version of the subject at the Washington Art Association in 1859, and three years later, he exhibited a statuette of the Indian Hunter at the National Academy of Design. After the Civil War, Ward set about enlarging his conception to a full-size sculpture. In an effort to include naturalistic details, he traveled to the Dakotas, making sketches and three-dimensional models based on his direct observations of Native Americans.