Art of the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee Indians

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University Press of Florida, Feb 1, 1997 - Art - 319 pages
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"A superbly readable piece of cultural history. . . . Downs proves that graphics and narrative can be intertwined in an entertaining and informative historical presentation. . . . Delightful and intellectually enriching."--Southern Historian

"Excellent. . . . Well-documented with both historical and anthropological sources, this is the best work to appear on a significant cultural characteristic of the Seminoles in quite some time. An excellent addition to the growing literature on the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes."--Tampa Tribune

"Unfolds the meaning of Seminole-Miccosukee arts as metaphor for the people of the Everglades."--Joyce Herold, Denver Museum of Natural History

The artistic tradition that in the past sustained Florida Indians helps identify them today as possessing a resilient, modern culture. In this richly illustrated account of the arts and crafts of the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, Dorothy Downs shows how artistic expression reflects and inspires history.

Emphasizing the influence of drastic cultural changes on their artistic traditions, Downs traces Seminole and Miccosukee art from the eighteenth century to the present and demonstrates both the persistence of some prehistoric southeastern Indian designs and the impact of contact with Europeans. In addition to clothing and finger-woven or bead-embroidered accessories, their arts and crafts--most often practiced by women--include pottery, basketry, and doll making. Their most powerful artistic expression is found in the colorful and intricate patchwork patterns that have become their twentieth-century signature.

Incorporating color and black-and-white photographs of these remarkable art pieces, Downs also details the "men's work" of silver and wood crafts and chickee building in a volume sure to interest scholars and the general public alike.

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Art of the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee Indians

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Offering more information about Seminole and Miccosukee art than can be found in any existing resources, this book fills a large gap in published accounts of these two enduring Southeastern U.S ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

Dorothy Downs is a founder and former president of the Tribal Arts Society of the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. She has lectured on Florida Indian patchwork, published articles on Florida Indian art, and produced a PBS television documentary, "Patterns of Power." She lives in Miami.

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