Special Bulletin #15: Finding and Cataloging Images of Native American Art

  • Karen Kessel Sonoma State University
Keywords: Native American, Indian, indigenous peoples, cataloging, art


The purpose of this special bulletin on Native American art is to provide sources for images that express Native American culture for use in teaching and lecturing and reference materials that will make it possible to identify, describe and catalog the works accurately and consistently. The components include a general chronology with a list of major sites and styles that distinguish each geographic region with accompanying maps, some general principles that illuminate the imagery employed, and a suggested core list of visual resource components for an introductory survey course in Native American art and culture. The bulletin aims to be useful to those curators who have little or no background in the subject, as well as those who have already developed collections of images of Native American art...Native American art features many animal images and non-objective patterns. Many of the objects that we might label as art have ceremonial functions, which can be referenced if we can recognize them. I have included reference sources that will lead the cataloger to this kind of information. Some of the terms used to describe Native American cultures, styles, places, and objects are found in the Getty Vocabularies, but many others are not, as yet.

Author Biography

Karen Kessel, Sonoma State University

Special Bulletin Editor: Wendy Holden - Independent Consultant

Cover Design: Karen Kessel - Sonoma State University

VRA Publications Program Group:

Chair: Lise Hawkos - Arizona State University

Marlene Gordon - University of Michigan, Dearborn

Wendy Holden - Independent Consultant

Steve Kowalik - Hunter College/CUNY

Trudy Levy - Image Integration

Amy McKenna - Williams College

Astrid Otey - Miami University

Mark Pompelia - Rice University

Elizabeth Schaub - University of Texas, Austin

Helen Terry - Trinity University

Adrienne Varady - University of Cincinnati

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