CHEYENNE CHIEF LITTLE SHIELD'S LEDGER BOOK

MS 4457
MS Short Title CHEYENNE CHIEF LITTLE SHIELD'S LEDGER BOOK
Text CHEYENNE CHIEF LITTLE SHIELD'S LEDGER BOOK RECORDING THE INDIAN WAR OF PLATTE RIVER IN 1865
Description MS in Suhtaio and English on paper, Nebraska, 1865-1879, 73 ff. of 96 ff. (illustrations complete), 7x15 cm, single column, (6x15 cm), 18 ruled lines in name glyphs and English cursive script by Little Shield and Black Moon, 9 pencil sketches, 105 full-page paintings in colours, of which 92 by Little Shield, 13 by 4 other warriors.
Binding US.A, ca 1865, brown morocco, sewn on 2 cords, with flap.
Context

Other Indian ledger drawing books are MSS 2956/1-2 and3018/1-2 and 4605.

Provenance 1. Cheyenne chief Little Shield, Central Plains (1865-1879); 2. Judge Charles H. Loud, Miles City, Montana, and his descendants (-2000); 3. Bruce Ferrini, Akron, Ohio.
Commentary

The present ledger is a major pictographic source for the Platte River Indian war, written by one of the legendary participants and leaders, who also participated at Beecher Island, Washita, Summit Springs and the Little Big Horn battles. He was killed January 1879 at Fort Robinson, fighting for his people and their freedom.

The ledger records 38 encounters with whites and 22 with Shoshoni, Pawnees, Omahas and Navajos.

The artist possessed an astonishing virtuosity in both draftsmanship and composition and also technical brilliance and attention to details. This is the earliest complete Cheyenne ledger known.

In the last 3 decades of the 19th c. Indians of the Apache, Cheyenne, Sioux, Kiowa and other tribes of the Great Plains, often deprived of traditional artistic and ceremonial venues because of their confinement to reservations, turned to drawings in small books and discarded ledgers as a way to make sense of the profound cultural stress to which they were subjected. The indigenous style evolved into a new form of Indian art, characterised by meticulously detailed depictions of clothing and paraphernalia. The Indian art is today highly recognised, represented in most major art museums in USA, to such a degree that most good ledgers have been broken up into single leaves for exhibition and collecting, making the present intact high quality ledger a rare survival.

Published To be published by Winfield Coleman: The Little Shield Ledger. A Cheyenne warrior's Pictographic Record of the Platte River war of 1865.
Exhibited
Mentioned
See also
Place of origin USA
Dates 1865 - 1879 AD

Location