Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum
Uncommon Legacies celebrates the power, significance, and exceptional artistic quality of one of the most important collections of early Native American art. Assembled in the course of trade and missionary activities beginning in the late eighteenth century, the spectacular examples illustrated provide a rare opportunity to observe the creativity of Native artists in response to their interactions with non-Natives. Included here are magnificently illustrated chapters on the art of the American Southeast, the Northwest Coast, the Northeast Woodlands and Great Lakes, the Plains, and South America.
Since the 1860s the Peabody Essex Museum has displayed its Native American collections at various times as historical, archaeological, ethnological, and, most recently, as art objects. Recognition of Native American art as "art" did not occur until the mid-1930s. Prior to that time, it was considered artifact or craft, "curiosity" or "primitive art."
There are more than 400 Native American cultures, each with its own distinct artistic tradition yet always open to the adoption of new forms of expression and materials in response to ever-changing conditions. Since art is created within the context of a given culture at a given time, a more complete understanding of specific objects requires an understanding of the culture in which they were created.
The works presented here are expressive of worldviews, beliefs, and ways of being within each Native American community. While every group has its own approach to the creative process, each generation has to determine what values to express through the arts and how best to express those values.
A magnificent volume with superb color photos of the collections. Lots of great material here.
272 pp — ©2002