The Art of the English Trade Gun in North America

The Art of the English Trade Gun in North America

by Nathan E. Bender


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Symbolic ornamentation inspired by ancient Greek and Roman art is a long-standing Western tradition. The author explores the designs of 18th century English gunsmiths who engraved classical ornamental patterns on firearms gifted or traded to American Indians. A system of allegory is found that symbolized the Americas of the New World in general, and that enshrined the American Indian peoples as “noble savages.”
The same allegorical context was drawn upon for symbols of national liberty in the early American republic. Inadvertently, many of the symbolic designs used on the trade guns strongly resonated with several Native American spiritual traditions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786471157
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 07/08/2018
Pages: 179
Sales rank: 950,211
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nathan E. Bender is a librarian/archivist in Laramie, Wyoming, and an independent research folklorist. He has published on western folklore and history, historic archaeology and material culture, and Native American studies in scholarly books and journals.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction: Designing Beauty for a New World 3

1. Light Fusils for the Iroquois 7

2. Broad Arrow and Sitting Fox 18

3. St. George and the Dragon 30

4. Chief’s Gun Patterns and Ornamentation 57

5. Arrows of Artemis 85

6. Diana and the Dragon 97

7. America and the Noble Savage 105

8. American Liberty 119

9. Respect for Arrows 130

Bibliography 143

Index 163

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The Art of the English Trade Gun in North America 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Guns traded to American Indians in North America by French and English had dragons and arrows and other decorations on them. This is the first book to explain why these patterns were chosen and why the patterns lasted for 200 years. Original research in art history based on gun decorations.