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American Indian Design and Decoration (Dover Pictorial Archive) Paperback – April 1, 1971

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The most original and most powerful design art produced in the Western Hemisphere is also its most indigenous: that of the Indian, in innumerable cultures existing from prehistory to the arrival of the white man, reaching from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. It owes, of course, nothing to Europe or the classical Orient. It is tremendous in variety, differing region by region, era by era, often tribe by tribe. It is always vigorously distinctive. This book, 20 years in preparation, shows us that art in all its profuse diversity and in the almost numberless crafts for which the American Indian is famous.
Well over 700 examples, drawn with painstaking care, are shown: representations of flora and fauna, men and gods, earth and sky; symbols of clan and tribe, religion and magic; formal designs from the primal to the highly intricate. They appear in examples of basketry, weaving, pottery, sculpture, painting, lapidary work, masks, drumheads, weapons, apparel, beadwork, goldwork, blankets, ponchos, and many other forms. The arts and crafts of Inca, Tiahuanaco, Chimú, Maya, Axtec, Zapotec, Totonac, Mixtec, Navaho, Zuni, Hopi, Apache, Cherokee, Creek, Winnebago, Dakota, Blackfoot, Nez Percé, Cheyenne, Crow, Sioux, Cochiti, Haida, Bellacoola, and others known and unknown are here.
Each section is preceded by a page of typical motifs of an area, making it easy to isolate the design elements. In addition, the lore and tradition behind the designs are told in a text reproducing the Indians' own stories and songs. Separate indices simplify locating the work of particular tribes and regions.
Craftspeople will find in this book a prolific source of timeless, eternally valid design ideas representing years of research in museums all over the hemisphere; for the graphic artist there is a wealth of material than can be adapted directly to his needs. All those interested in the Americans who preceded us on these continents will find this work unique.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Pictorial Archive
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; New impression edition (April 1, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486227049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486227047
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 15, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to learn about the western hemisphere art as a whole and not country by country and that's precisely what I found in this book. Well detailed designs and astonishing information such as poems, myths, symbols explanations... unfortunately, some countries -as Ecuador- are not represented and that's a pitty because they have many motifs to show to the world. Anyway, I think this is a must in decorators' or art historian's library!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a ceramic artist always looking for southwestern inspiration. This book is terrific! Wonderful sourcebook of patterns and "rock art" type drawings. I own several books on the topic, and this is by far the best. If I had been aware of it, and purchased it earlier, I would not have bought many of the other titles I own.
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Format: Paperback
There are other Dover books that display Native American designs like:

North American Indian Motifs CD-ROM and Book (Dover Electronic Clip Art)
Southwest Indian Designs Coloring Book (Dover Design Coloring Books)
Southwest Indian Designs CD-ROM and Book (Dover Electronic Clip Art)
North American Indian Designs for Artists and Craftspeople (Dover Pictorial Archive)
Native American Beadwork
North American Indian Beadwork Patterns
American Indian Needlepoint Designs: for Pillows, Belts, Handbags and other Projects

I have several of these books and have made beaded bands on a loom with them.

This book is WAY different than I expected. There are exactly 4 pages of color diagrams (not photos) of textiles, masks and pueblo pottery. There are many fewer designs than I would have thought but I find this book even more interesting: the mythology and folklore, the stories, the poems along with some of the history fascinates me.
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My reason for purchasing this book is to duplicate authentic Native American designs on my artwork. This book is excellent for that purpose, and when writing a sales brochure this book gives me the correct information so those wanting to buy my decorated skulls and the like, will know the true meaning of each symbol and design.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book when I was looking for a reliable source for Native American tattoos. I had an interest in using a tattoo for a fictional character I write about and this book gave me much more than I bargained for. There were many interesting tidbits about the history of designs, not just tattoos, but also a wide variety of artwork such as pottery design, celebratory decorations, and ceremonial artwork. I was pleasantly surprised to be drawn into this book, and I ended up reading the entire book instead of skimming through for only the info I needed. In the end, this book was engaging and fun, and it gave me an entirely different perspective on Native American artwork. I am so glad I picked this up not only for the enjoyable read, but because it gave me a good reason to understand why my idea was not appropriate. There are customs and beliefs associated with many symbols that I did not fully understand, so this book helped me to create a much more accurate portrayal of the Native American design I used in my fiction work.
Thank you Le Roy Appleton. I loved this book and it is easy to see how much love and work you put into creating it.
If you are a reader interested in true Native American culture, this is a great resource for you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I couldn't remember this title , but a cousin owned this and I wanted a copy too. Glad I found it on Amazon. It is pretty thorough and has quite a few different tribes and regions to be inspired by. Very handy for gourd art reference.
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By Hiloman on January 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great reference book for my tattoo business. Those that desire real designs can be found in this book and that is why I gave it a four star.
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Arrived well and in good condition! Very used flu to me in art design work.
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