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Ledger Art

Ledger Art

“This genre, often called Ledger Art, represents a transitional form of Plains Indian artistry corresponding to the forced reduction of Plains tribes to government reservations, roughly between 1860 and 1900. Due to the destruction of the buffalo herds and other game animals of the Great Plains by Anglo-Americans during and after the Civil War, painting on buffalo hide gave way to works on paper, muslin, canvas, and occasionally commercially prepared cow or buffalo hides.

“Beginning in the early 1860s, Plains Indian men adapted their representational style of painting to paper in the form of accountants ledger books. Traditional paints and bone and stick brushes used to paint on hide gave way to new implements such as colored pencils, crayon, and occasionally water color paints. Plains artists acquired paper and new drawing materials in trade, or as booty after a military engagement, or from a raid. Initially, the content of ledger drawings continued the tradition of depicting of military exploits and important acts of personal heroism already established in representational painting on buffalo hides and animal skins. As the US government implemented the forced relocation of the Plains peoples to reservations, for all practical purposes completed by the end of the 1870s, Plains artists added scenes of ceremony and daily life from before the reservation to the repertoire of their artwork, reflecting the social and cultural changes brought by life on the reservation within the larger context of forced assimilation.”

 "Ledger Art History." Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California San Diego: Plains Indian Ledger Art Project. 2011

  1. Native American Ledger Art - Lakota Horse Nation by Don Montileaux

    Lakota Horse Nation

    Don Montileaux has rendered this large-scale ledger drawing, “Lakota Horse Nation,” using colored pencil and ink on two ledger pages still attached from the center of a general store’s ledger book dated 1906.
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  2. Red Horse - Ledger Drawing by Donald F. Montileaux

    Red Horse

    “Red Horse” is an energetic image of a painted horse rendered by Native American ledger artist, Don Montileaux.
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  3. Four Bears by Evans Flammond, Sr. - Lakota Ledger Art

    Four Bears

    "Four Bears" by Evans Flammond, Sr. is a colored pencil and ink portrait on 1888 ledger paper of the famous and revered Mandan chief who lived from around the late 1700s until 1837.
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  4. Eagle Warrior - Ledger Drawing by Joe Pulliam

    Eagle Warrior

    With a long, eagle feather headdress, beautifully beaded leggings, pipe bag and knife sheath, and an eagle feather adorned coup staff, this warrior is dressed in his finest and honors the spirit of the eagle. Original ledger art by Joe Pulliam.
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  5. Warrior with Bear Skin Headdress - Ledger Drawing by Joe Pulliam

    Warrior with Bear Skin Headdress

    Using watercolor on an 1865 ledger page, Lakota artist Joe Pulliam has painted “Warrior with Bear Skin Headdress.”
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  6. Spotted Elk - Don Montileaux - Limited Edition Print

    Spotted Elk

    Lakota artist, Don Montileaux’s limited edition ledger art print, “Spotted Elk,” depicts a lone warrior riding his favorite war pony into battle.
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  7. Blue Head - Don Montileaux - Limited Edition Print

    Blue Head

    “Blue Head,” by Lakota ledger artist Don Montileaux, is a limited edition print featuring three colorful and stylized horses printed on heavy watercolor paper with archival inks.
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  8. Con.Fron.Ta.Tion - Don Montileaux - Limited Edition Print


    Native American ledger artist Don Montileaux created this limited edition print of Lakota warriors riding into battle against an unseen enemy. “Con.Fron.Ta.Tion” shows how the warriors used methods of concealing themselves behind their horses in battle.
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  9. Our Grandfathers Ride with Us Today - Don Montileaux - Limited Edition Print

    Our Grandfathers Ride with Us Today

    Limited edition print, “Our Grandfathers Ride with Us Today,” by Native American artist, Don Montileaux, depicts several Lakota warriors riding into battle along with the spirits of their grandfathers.
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  10. Battle - Don Montileaux - Limited Edition Print


    Limited edition ledger art print, “Battle,” by Donald Montileaux shows two warriors racing to a fight.
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