Synopses & Reviews
Presented here through pictorial, decorative, and functional arts is life in the western part of the United States, from the Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, as it was in the nineteenth century during colonization. Reflecting the diversity of the widely separated cultures that created them, these arts and crafts offer an opportunity to better understand the evolution of America's frontiers, which were extended through exploration and trade from the East.
Forming a prologue to the main theme is a brief survey of Indian arts from prehistoric times to the beginning of Spanish colonization. These objects serve as a reminder that the European settlers moved into a land that already possessed a rich culture. The second part of the book is devoted to exploration and the effect of the white man on Indian arts through conflict as well as trade. Paintings, drawings, and photographs record the Far West as seen by artists and photographers who made the often difficult journey to the new land before large-scale immigration took place. Battle scenes present both the Indian's and the white man's view of the conflict between the two cultures. Indian crafts show how materials received in trade with the white man were adapted with imaginative skill. The third and most extensive part of the book describes the decorative and functional arts from western settlements. A selection of works represents three characteristically different groups of settlers, the people of the Spanish Southwest, the Germans in Texas, and the Mormons in Utah, as well as pioneers in Oregon, Montana, Colorado, and Nebraska.