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Ledger art by Merle Locke (Lakota Sioux )

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There is a long tradition of artwork among the native peoples of the Plains, who originally painted on animal hides – particularly buffalo hides. When buffalo became scarce after eradication programs encouraged by the US federal government, Plains artists began painting and drawing on paper, canvas, and muslin. In the mid 19th century, an increasing supply of ledger books and other paper came from Europeans, along with pencils, fountain pens, crayons, and watercolor paints. The ledger books used by storekeepers to record their sales were one of the earliest sources of paper for warrior-artists, and their art – done on any sort of paper – has come to be called “ledger art.” The subject matter soon expanded to include all of Plains daily and ritual life.

Original ledger art flourished primarily from the 1860s to the 1920s and was the province solely of men. The revival of ledger art began in the 1960s and 1970s, now including some very talented women. Modern Plains artists create contemporary ledger paintings, often using 19th-century documents on which to paint, often creating ironic juxtapositions between the printed text and the paintings.

Merle Locke (Oglala Lakota) is a ledger artist who resides on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He says, “Depicting historical events must be expressed properly and accordingly and that in itself requires a great deal of oral and written research. I feel it is my obligation to depict the past and present properly so our future Lakota artists can be encouraged and inspired.”
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I noticed that also but it definitely depicts wonderful ledger art, thanks so much.


It actually doesn't look like it is ledger paper, but the images are pure ledger, so I left it in that category. It's a bit of a hybrid, I guess.


I could not tell this was ledger paper, nice painting though. TFP


Thank you Judy for another amazing Lakota ledger art painting. I so love them and wish I owned one. Have a good WE....

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