Primitive Art

Overview

Written by one of the twentieth century's most influential scientists, this volume has been essential reading for art historians and anthropologists since its initial publication in 1927. The definitive analysis of the fundamental traits of primitive art, it covers the formal element in art, representative art, symbolism, style, literature, music, and dance. A 115-page study focuses on the art of North America's North Pacific Coast.

Because of its variety of pictorial ...

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Overview

Written by one of the twentieth century's most influential scientists, this volume has been essential reading for art historians and anthropologists since its initial publication in 1927. The definitive analysis of the fundamental traits of primitive art, it covers the formal element in art, representative art, symbolism, style, literature, music, and dance. A 115-page study focuses on the art of North America's North Pacific Coast.

Because of its variety of pictorial matter-including more than 300 photographs, drawings, and diagrams-this book represents a valuable resource for artists and designers. Its illustrations include examples of Indian embroidery, Paleolithic paintings, woven blankets, wing and tail designs, totem poles, hats, cutlery, painted boxes, earthenware, baskets, and many other primitive objects and motifs. This unabridged edition contains the original introduction, preface, documentation, and index, in addition to a new introduction by an expert on Native American art and culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486473307
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 5/20/2010
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction to the 2010 Dover Edition xi

Preface 1

Mental attitude of primitive people 1

Primitive culture, historical growth 4

The object of the investigation is a study of dynamic conditions of art growth 7

Acknowledgments 8

I Introduction 9

What is art? 9

Technical perfection in art 10

Emotional appeal of contents of art colors 12

Historical notations 13

II The formal element in art 17

Virtuosity 17

Regularity of form and virtuosity 19

Lack of virtuosity and artistic form 22

Lack of effect of artistic form 25

The plain, strong line and regular curve 31

Symmetry 32

Inverted symmetry 36

Rhythm 40

Marginal designs 55

Decoration of prominent places 60

Conclusion 62

III Representative art 64

Representation and representative art 64

Primitive symbolic and realistic representation 69

Influence of technique upon style of representation 81

IV Symbolism 88

Wide distribution of symbolic interpretation 88

Lack of stability of explanation 102

Lack of coherence in symbols 106

Design names 109

Studies in conventionalization 113

Geographical distribution of explanations of similar designs 118

Reading in of meanings 121

Development of geometrical form according to representative tendencies 124

Stability of patterns of action as against instability of interpretation 128

Change of type due to slovenly execution 130

Technical motives applaying to representations 138

Effect of decorative field 141

Effect of symbolic methods of representation 143

V Style 144

The problem of style 144

Motor habits and form 145

Concentration of forms 148

Transfer of forms in new materials 150

Technical determination of form 153

Individuality of style 153

The artist in his cultural setting 155

Control of style over invention 156

Formal elements of style 161

Dissemination of art forms and local developments 161

Diversity of style in the same tribe and community 180

VI The art of the Northwest coast of North America 183

Symbolic representations of animal forms 186

The beaver 186

The sculpin 188

The hawk and the eagle 190

The dragon-fly 192

The killer-whale 194

The bear 197

The sea-monster 198

The frog 198

The shark 198

Summary of symbols 202

Minor symbols are not strictly normative 207

The wolf; variations of form in representations of same animal 213

Variations in interpretation 214

Use of fragmentary symbols 216

Adaptation of animal forms to the decorative field 218

Formal elements in animal representations 221

Design arrangement on Chilkat blankets 257

Design arrangement on boxes 262

Design arrangement on food trays 270

Design arrangement on square boxes 275

Geometrical elements 279

Older art styles of the Gulf of Georgia 284

Realistic representations 285

Geometrical designs in basketry 289

Art of neighboring tribes 294

VII Primitive literature, music, and dance 299

General occurrence of literature, music, and dance 299

Relation between song, music, and dance 303

Primitive prose 303

Rhythm 310

Emphasis 317

Symmetry 320

Metaphor 320

Poetic description 325

Local culture reflected in literary form 327

Symbolic meaning of narrative 337

Different literary styles are found in the same tribe 337

Distribution of literary forms 338

Music 340

Dance 344

Conclusion 349

Text figures 357

Explanation of plates 373

Name Index 374

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