Plains Indian Art
The Pioneering Work of John C. Ewers
For almost three-quarters of a century, the study of Plains Indian art has been shaped by the expertise, wisdom, and inspired leadership of John Canfield Ewers (1909-97). Based on years of field research with Native Americans, careful scholarship, and exhaustive firsthand studies of museum collections around the world, Ewers's publications have long been required reading for anyone interested in the cultures of the Plains peoples, especially their visual art traditions. This vividly illustrated collection of Ewers's writings presents studies first published in "American Indian Art Magazine "and other periodicals between 1968 and 1992. Tracing the history of the pictorial art of Plains peoples from images on rock surfaces to the walls of modern museums, the essays reflect the principal interests of this pioneering scholar of ethnohistory, who was himself a talented artist: the depiction of tribal life and ritual, individual war honors, and aspects of sacred power basic to traditional Plains cultures. Chapters are devoted to particular tribal arts--Blackfeet picture writing and Assiniboine antelope-horn headdresses, for example--as well as the work of particular artists. Ewers also traces interactions between Plains Indian artists and Euro-American artists and anthropologists. Available for the first time in book form, the influential cultural and historical studies collected here--together with all 140 illustrations that Ewers selected for them, including many now in full color--remain vital to our understanding of the Native peoples of the Great Plains.
203 pp ~ illustrated — ©2011