Guide to Native American Ledger Drawings and Pictographs in United States Museums, Libraries, and Archives

By John R. Lovett Jr.; Donald L. DeWitt | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Introduction

Ledger drawings by American Indian artists in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries provide an excellent source of visual history for the way of life of Native Americans on the Great Plains. Known as ledger drawings primarily because the artists used the blank pages of ledger books obtained from U.S. soldiers, traders, missionaries, and reservation employees, this form of art represents a transition from drawing on buffalo hide to a paper medium.

When ledger pages were not available, artists often used other types of paper such as single sheets of stationery, cardboard, drawing paper, and, in the case of a Sioux artist's winter count, a composition book from the University of Oklahoma bookstore. Several artists also used muslin to render their scenes of plains life.

In addition to paper and cloth, European culture gave American Indian artists a variety of pens, inks, pencils, colored pencils, watercolors, and even crayons to compose their works. These drawing materials offered the artists more latitude in depicting their images than the paints used previously to draw on buffalo hide.

The artists' style, content, and quality ranged from very primitive and poor, from an artistic point of view, to bold, sharp drawings with lavish use of color and multiple figures. A majority of ledger drawings share common characteristics, such as a lack of perspective, and action scenes that usually move from right to left. Ledger drawings are also egocentric in that the warrior-artist is nearly always the focus of the drawing's action. The artist's motive for doing the ledger drawing was to clarify an oral interpretation of an event.

As the artists provided this visual history, the subjects of individual ledger drawings included village and social life, ceremonies, hunting, horse capture, and, of major importance to the warrior-artist, their individual battle records against

-ix-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Guide to Native American Ledger Drawings and Pictographs in United States Museums, Libraries, and Archives
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 135

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?