Ledger Drawing - American Indian, Naive
Drawing on Ledger Paper
Age: Late 19th Century
Size: 7.75" H x 12" W
Weight: 2 lbs.
Maker: Native American
Frame/Mat Size: 13.75" H x 16.75" W
Description: American Indian and ethnographic art. (Ledger drawing ) Possibly drawn by a Native American from the Flathead or Salish tribe, or one of the Plains tribes. The drawing on lined composition paper that was often used for ledger drawings depicts tribal daily life scene with Two tribal members smoking peace pipe on a rug, children at play, woman cooking over hanging pots, teepees with banners, feathers, bow staff with feathers and skins hanging to dry in a distance. The drawing is in colored pencil, often used during the 19th century by the Plains Indian tribes. Paper is lined and toned, numbered with blue stamp ( upper right corner 324) from a ledger book and has been kept protected under glass.
Condition: Very good
History: A profound sense of history has long compelled the Indian peoples of the Great Plains of North America to chronicle their lives pictorially. Their paintings on rock walls, buffalo hide robes and tipis provided records of history, experiences and visions. The mid-19th century, Plains men broke with the hide and rock painting traditions of the past and adopted a new, smaller-scale medium for their pictorial histories: they began to draw on paper. They obtained pencils, crayons, and watercolors from white explorers and traders who had trickled across the continent early in the century, and later from the military men and Indian agents who swept across the Mississippi in the second half of the century in an unstoppable wave that changed Plains Indian life irrevocably. Ledger are considered an artistic genre unto itself. Western-produced paper was used by Indian artists of the Great Plains as early as the 1830s as a new surface on which to draw and record the profound changes that were occurring around them. The large bound ledger book, used for inventory by traders and military officers, became a common canvas for the renderings of Indian artists, although autograph books, sketchbooks, note paper, recycled stationery and other paper materials were also utilized. Sometimes pencils and notebooks were acquired through trade; sometimes they were part of the plunder taken from the bodies of white soldiers on the battlefield. Ironically, drawing books were plundered in turn by soldiers from the bodies of dead Indian warriors, collected as coveted relics of the very culture the soldiers had been sent to destroy. Other books were created by Indian scouts for white soldiers to take home as mementos of their often bloody days in "Indian country." Plains artists used drawings as a way of making sense of their transition from a migratory existence to a reservation life.Native American drawings became important sources of intercultural communication—pictorial means to educate whites about indigenous traditions and histories. Even the act of making drawings for sale held a profound meaning for those who made them: it was an act of resistance to chronicle the old ways and keep them alive. Today, the drawings speak on many levels about Native history, oppression, resistance, autonomy, and the powerful human urge to draw.
Meta: Drawing, American, Indian, native American, art