Visions of the People: A Pictorial History of Plains Indian Life

Evan M. Maurer, Editor University of Washington Press $35 (298p) ISBN 978-0-295-97229-9
This impressive volume serves as the catalogue for an important exhibit of Plains Indian art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, co-curated by Maurer. The full panoply of arts, from watercolors to crafts--including moccasins, carved pipes, shields and beadwork--is represented, showing the development in style and materials from A.D. 1200 to the 20th century. Among the more notable pieces are ledger-book drawings, which include depictions of scenes from Native life done in colored pencil on paper by Natives held prisoner by the U.S. government, and works by famous Native heroes, such as Sitting Bull's drawings of himself in battle. The book also includes a number of excellent essays about the evolution of Plains culture and art by scholars in the field. Standouts among these are George P. Horse Capture's essay on the war bonnet, which becomes an opportunity for autobiographical meditations on the search for identity through Native art, and Peter J. Powell's examination of a Lakota painting depicting that tribe's final summer of freedom. This volume will be valued by scholar and thoughtful layperson alike. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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