Art of the Cherokee

Prehistory to the Present

Title Details

Pages: 312

Illustrations: 55 color and 20 b&w photos

Trim size: 8.500in x 11.000in



Pub Date: 02/25/2007

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2767-9

List Price: $34.95

Related Subjects

ART / Native American

Art of the Cherokee

Prehistory to the Present

Skip to

  • Description
  • Reviews

This illustrated historical overview features some of the finest examples of Cherokee art in private, corporate, and museum collections throughout the world. As Susan C. Power ranges across the rich legacy of Cherokee artistic achievement from the sixteenth century to the present, she discusses baskets, masks, beaded and embroidered garments, jewelry, and paintings. Power draws on archival and scholarly sources and, when possible, the artists' own words as she interprets these objects in terms of their design, craftsmanship, style, and most important, their function and meaning in Cherokee history and culture.

In addition to tracing the development of Cherokee art, Power reveals the wide range of geographical locales from which Cherokee art has originated. These places include the Cherokee's tribal homeland in the Southeast, the tribe's areas of resettlement in the West, and abodes in the United States and beyond to which individuals subsequently moved. Intimately connected to the time and place of its creation, Cherokee art changed along with Cherokee social, political, and economic circumstances. The entry of European explorers into the Southeast, the Trail of Tears, the American Civil War, and the signing of treaties with the U.S. government are among the transforming events in Cherokee art history that Power discusses.

In the twentieth century, as Cherokee artists joined the mainstream art world, they helped shape the Native American Fine Art Movement. Today, Cherokee artists continue to create in an artistic voice that is uniquely Cherokee—a voice both traditional and contemporary.

Power's work is a groundbreaking art history of North Carolina and Oklahoma Cherokees. In my opinion this is one of the most important works since that of the early ethnographers including Frank Speck and James Mooney. Meticulous research and a consistent use of direct information from living Cherokee people are reflected in this sensitive and well-documented art history of a vibrant and resilient people.

—Mary Jo Watson, Associate Dean of the College Fine Arts and Associate Professor of Native American Art History, University of Oklahoma

Power aptly examines the role of Cherokee Indian art and offers a significant contribution to an understanding of Cherokee culture and traditions. Carefully compiling available literature and coupling it with her own extensive research, Power elicits a very approachable balance in her writing. Her study of early works and the influence these pieces have on contemporary artists is very informative. Power’s efforts to present so engaging a story will enhance our knowledge of the Cherokee's creativity in the face of adversity and garner respect for Cherokee artists.

—Andrew L. Strout, University of Oklahoma School of Art

Power's Art of the Cherokee is a groundbreaking volume. No single monograph has provided an extensive study of Cherokee art from the archaeological past to the present; with the exception of the Seminole, little has been published in depth for the art of any southeastern Indian nation. The rich pre-contact art of the Southeast has received wide coverage through recent exhibitions with impressive catalogues and new anthologies, but the arts of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries in the Southeast, beyond basketry, have not been closely examined. Power reverses that trend and hopefully sets the stage for additional studies. . . . This is a well-written, beautifully illustrated volume that does more justice to the diversity and longevity of Cherokee art than any previous publication. Power's extensive bibliography, helpful index, and lack of jargon make the book very user friendly.

North Carolina Historical Review

Native American art history concerning Southeastern and Oklahoma Indian art is enhanced by Susan Power's ambitious book on Cherokee art . . . . In addition to the text, extensive notes, a fine glossary, works consulted, and an index make this book a superb resource for Native American art historians, Indian history scholars, and interested readers.

Great Plains Quarterly

About the Author/Editor

SUSAN C. POWER is a professor emerita of art at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. She is also the author of Art of the Cherokee: Prehistory to the Present (Georgia).