Native American Ledger Art consisted of book drawings were the result of paper being introduced to the Native American Indians by the Europeans. Ledger books, originally used by Mercantile Trading Companies to keep their accounts, were given to Native Indians artists who produced Ledger Book art and drawings that illustrated examples of Native American artwork. Ledger books contained an easily accessible form of paper. Traditionally, picture drawings, pictograms, paintings and art symbols were crafted on the hides of animals, on tepees and clothing. The traditional form of painting on buffalo hide gave way to works on paper, muslin and canvas which are collectively referred to as Ledger Art. Native American Ledger art therefore flourished primarily from the 1860's to the 1920's. Many of the American Indians were fine artists and had inherited a tradition of conveying meanings and stories by using pictures and symbols.
Ledger Art Materials
When Native Americans were sent to reservations in the late 1800's they were provided with paper and pencils and encouraged to draw and Native American Ledger Art was produced. Ledger Art Materials including the following:
- Paper, Canvas and Muslin
- Pencils, crayons, ink fountain pens and watercolor paints
Ledger Art - Two Dimensional Art
Traditional Indian painting was usually flat, highly colorful and two-dimensional. Two-dimensional art has two dimensions, most often length and width. Ledger Art has its figures and elements organized on a flat surface, especially emphasizing the vertical and horizontal character of the picture plane. The two-dimensional ledger art was created by painting or drawing methods. The primary element of composition of two-dimensional artwork is line. Some of the pictures and paintings seen in Ledger Art look a little like cartoon figures and are identifiable because of their outline. The lines used in two-dimensional art is either curved or straight. The lines used by Native American artists in Ledger Art control our vision and create unity and meaning.
Ledger Book Drawing - Cheyenne Ledger Art
Ledger Art - Silver Horn, famous Kiowa Artist
Silver Horn or Haungooah (1860–1940) was a Plains Indian Kiowa Ledger Artist from Oklahoma. Silver Horn used Ledger Art to convey many traditional Native American images. He created pictures of Kiowa culture depicting daily life, personal experiences, battles and warfare, coup counting and illustrations of various rituals and ceremonies including the famous sun dance.
Ledger Painting on muslin by Kiowa Artist Silver Horn