Pueblo shields from the Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection

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9780873581462: Pueblo shields from the Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection
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Prehistorically, small hand-held shields are portrayed in Anasazi and Fremont rock paintings and petroglyphs from presumably around the thirteenth century, ideal for use with clubs in hand-to- hand combat. These are contemporaneous with numerous depictions of pedestrian shield bearers with large body shields. Historically the Apache, Comanche, and Ute shared design elements; Apache painting on rawhide is well-known for its use of serrations. Western Plateau and Kutenai "painted teeth as borders in parfleche motifs." Designs on prehistoric shields and on historic shields are both variable and repeated, the latter since the round field of the shield often dictates a predilection for certain solutions to decoration. Very few shield designs are exclusive to any one cultural or tribal group. A design commonly used on historic Rio Grande Pueblo shields: A characteristic pattern consisting of a wide band, often decorated with three or so circles, that cuts the shield face in two horizontally. Above are buffalo horns, and below a fan-shaped element suggestive of eagle tail feathers. The fact that shields were often obtained (as by the Navajo) from other tribes is a major factor, accounting for a broad distribution of designs and other features of manufacture during the historic period. In addition, during the early historic and even Protohistoric period, designs were often widely shared between different tribal groups. This was especially the case, once the horse was introduced and communication became fluid over vast territories.

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