THE BULLMAN LEDGER

MS 4605
MS Short Title THE BULLMAN LEDGER
Text
  1. BIBLE: MATTHEW 6: 9 - 13, THE LORD'S PRAYER
  2. DRAWING CYCLE OF TRAVELS, IMPRISONMENT AT FORT MARION, MILITARY HOSPITAL, GUARD DUTY IN MILITARY POLICE, EXCHANGE OF A DEAD GOLDEN EAGLE BETWEEN 2 MEN, GRASS DANCE, DREAMING, SELLING GRAIN, SMALL POX OUTBREAK, MARRIAGE PROPOSAL, FLUTIST PLAYING, VISIONARY EXPERIENCES, PEYOTE MEETING, CONJUNCTION OF THE SUN, MOON AND A STAR, A RECOUNTING BY 4 MEN IN A COLLECTIVE VISION; THE NAMES OF: BULLMAN, LITTLE BRAID, SQUINT EYES, TOUCH THE MOON, CUT FACE, BULL BEAR, SWORD CORN SHELLER, TWO BULLS, WOLF'S HEAD, WOLF'S FACE, CURLY HAIR, LOOKS BACKWARD, ONE HORN, SITTING BULL, WHITE SHIELD, BEARS CAP, CUT BREAST, WHITE BIRD, STAR HORSE, AND MORE
Description MS in Cheyenne on paper, Fort Marion, St Augustine, Florida, 1891-1900, 60 ff. (-80), 31x19 cm, single column, (22x15 cm), 21 lines in Cheyenne cursive script (text 1), 35 name glyphs, 37 fine fullpage pen drawings by Bullman.
Binding St Augustine, Florida, U.S.A., ca. 1890, half shirting gilt, sewn on 4 cords, illustrations of Lincoln and Grant on a floral pattern inside cover.
Context Other Indian ledger drawing books are MSS 2956/1-2, 3018/1-2 and 4457.
Provenance 1. Bullman, Fort Marion, St Augustine, Florida (1891-); 2. Ramona Morris, Oklahoma?; 3. Douglas Allard Auction (??); 4. Bruce Ferrini, Akron, Ohio.
Commentary The most peculiar page in the book seems to depict the recounting by 4 men of a collective vision. The vision in a quartered circle shows a man on a bench in the upper quadrant, being addressed by a blanketed figure who may represent Thunder, as power lines are radiating out from a zigzag sky. Similar zigzags in the upper left quadrant have a different connotation with 4 figures in prison and a conventionalised counting device of 5 lines, repeated 5 times. The diagonal slash to denote 5 is a White man's way of counting. The lower left quadrant depict a man chained to the wall, but surrounded on both sides by lightning symbols. The lower right quadrant is distinguished by the Roman numerals 1 - 5 in semi-circles, plus 4 rifles, 3 horse heads, and 4 human heads, seemingly the booty of 5 successful raids. 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.
Place of origin Florida
Dates 1891 - 1900 AD

Location