Art of the Osage

Overview

The Osage people, who have flourished in several locations and within a multiplicity of environments in the American Midwest, have infused their arts with an aesthetic vigor bound to an exquisite simplicity. Art of the Osage, the first comprehensive presentation of the art of the Osage people, explores the interconnections among their material culture, social organization, cosmology, aesthetics, and rituals. This volume draws together more than two centuries' worth of Osage art, tracing the patterns of Osage life...
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Overview

The Osage people, who have flourished in several locations and within a multiplicity of environments in the American Midwest, have infused their arts with an aesthetic vigor bound to an exquisite simplicity. Art of the Osage, the first comprehensive presentation of the art of the Osage people, explores the interconnections among their material culture, social organization, cosmology, aesthetics, and rituals. This volume draws together more than two centuries' worth of Osage art, tracing the patterns of Osage life and culture as they existed from contact to the present. The Osage people thrived in the central Mississippi Valley fur trade from the late seventeenth through the early nineteenth centuries, were forcibly relocated into northern Oklahoma in the nineteenth century, and prospered again from mineral and oil wealth in the twentieth century.

As with other civilizations that have balanced abundance with hardship, the Osage experience yielded a highly refined artistic tradition, rich in meaning and complex in its commitment to utility. Cradleboards, headdresses, riding quirts and war clubs, beadwork and ribbon work, blankets, peyote fans, rattles, wedding garments, and dance costumes display the range and beauty of Osage material culture. In contrast to many other Native American artistic traditions, Osage art has never been commercialized: artisans have typically made items only for members of their families or other members of the Osage community. Although contemporary Osage art shows direct continuity in decorative motifs and basic forms with early historic Osage art, it is still a dynamic and evolving artistic tradition. Uninfluenced by external market forces, it represents one of a declining number of true indigenous living artistic traditions. The works illustrated here reveal the bold yet subtle aesthetic of Osage art, one of the most distinctive and significant Native artistic traditions in the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Osage people, first located south of the Missouri River and west of the Mississippi, kept pretty much to themselves through the years, not interacting with European and American culture as much as other tribes. They also were canny enough to sell their valuable reservation in Kansas and move to Oklahoma, where they were accurately called the richest people in the world years before oil was discovered under their new reservation and they became even richer. As a result, little has been known about them until now. Their art, so intertwined with their daily life that the two are one, is beautifully illustrated in this sleek new volume, written by Bailey (anthropology, Univ. of Tulsa) and Swan (Chucalissa Museum, Univ. of Memphis) to accompany an exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum organized for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. The involved beadwork, delicate and skilled finger weavings, and carved pipes, quirts, and batons stand out, but the book is more than a catalog. It features a series of well-written essays that vivify the Osage's daily life, cosmology, and religion, which evolved from traditional native beliefs to a peyote religion, and also shows the continuing devotion to the Osage way through societies and organizations that draw even wealthy, cosmopolitan tribal members back for ceremonies. For this reason, the book is essential for Native American collections.-Gay Neale, Meredithville, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295983875
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 859,110
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.34 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword-Brent R. Benjamin
Acknowledgments-John W. Nunley
Introduction-Garrick Bailey
1. Early Osage Art and History-Garrick Bailey
2. Osage Cosmology-Garrick Bailey
3. Osage Daily Life: Living Life as a Prayer-Garrick Bailey
4. The Osage Peyote Religion-Daniel C. Swan
5. The Richest People in the World-Garrick Bailey
6. Osage Dancing Societies and Organizations
7. Osage Aethetics-A Curatorial View-John W. Nunley, E. Sean StandingBear
Notes
References
Index
Photography Credits
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