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The American Indian Parfleche: A Tradition of Abstract Painting
By: Gaylord Torrence
The parfleche -- a container of folded or sewn rawhide elaborated with painted designs on the exposed surfaces -- constitutes one of the great traditions of abstract imagery created by American Indian Artists. In The American Indian Parfleche, Gaylor Torrence reveals the quality and great diversity of this art form which was widespread in the western half of North America during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. He explains the origin and chronology of parfleches, and examines their aesthetic and utilitarian function.
The major contribution of The American Indian Parfleche is the identification of characteristics that define regional and tribal styles. The author has studied more than 1,5000 parfleches in nearly one hundred public and private collections in the United States, Canada, and Europe, allowing him to conceptualize a unique analysis and interpretation of the art form.
One hundred twenty-seven of the finest examples of parfleches are reproduced here. Most of the pieces are previously unpublished and virtually unknown. The book fills a gap in our knowledge of American Indian culture and history, and will be valuable to scholars in the field of American Indian studies and to those interested in the history of modern abstract art.
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