Jean Afton, The Edwards Ledger Drawings:Folk Art By Arapaho Warriors. January 16–March 14, 1990 (New York: David A. Schorsch Incorporated, 1990).
In the latter half of the 19th century, warrior-artists of the Great Plains—including men of the Arapaho, Caddo, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Kiowa nations—began to compile such historical narratives on paper rather than buffalo hides. In addition to the increasing scarcity of hides, the influx of travellers, traders, and military officers in the West during this period, brought new materials that proved easy to use, and desirable for their portability. It became more than a medium through which one might establish his ranking, and functioned as an essential tool for the common man who had to resolve communication issue between nomadic people. This was done in parallel with the recitation or development of oral histories, making such visual narratives an integral component of traditional Indian arts and culture.
The present album strikingly portrays scenes of warrior combat, various instances of dress—to include that of a cavalry officer—more domestic scenes of hunting, and even a graphic image of a scalping. The variety of imagery creates a broad narrative, offering not only a rich aesthetic, but also a captivating glimpse into the life of a Plains Indian.
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