THE AMERICAN INDIAN PARFLECHE: A TRADITION OF ABSTRACT PAINTING by Gaylord Torrence. University of Washington Press in association with the Des Moines Art Center, P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096, (800) 441-4115, (206) 543-3932 FAX. Illustrated (148 total, 103 in color), index, bibliography, notes, map. 272 pp., $60.00 cloth (0-295-97332-3), $35.00 paper (0-295-97333-1).
When members of Great Plains tribes moved their lodges, they packed their food and personal belongings in folded or sewn and brightly painted rawhide containers (rectangular or tubular in shape) called parfleches. The containers, each bearing its own distinctive pattern, were created primarily by women during the period 1750- 1880. Torrence photographed 127 of these receptacles from over forty tribes for this catalog, as a component of a travelling art exhibition bearing the same name.
"The American Indian Parfleche" is a grand celebration of the nomadic way of life, as well as a commemoration of an outstanding artform. Sadly, most of the information that Torrence has gathered on each piece has more to do with its collector rather than who created it. This is not a reflection on Torrence, but on the method of record-keeping that predominates among art collectors. The exhibit will appear at the Miami Center for the Fine Arts from November 19, 1994 through January 8, 1995. Grade: B+. Reviewed by Steve Brock
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Last Updated: Monday, October 28, 1996 - 4:07:17 AM