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Maryhill Museum of Art | MUSEUM STORE

Plateau Pictorial Beadwork: The Fred L. Mitchell Collection

Plateau Pictorial Beadwork: The Fred L. Mitchell Collection

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Bead embroidery created by the Indigenous peoples of the Columbia River Plateau region of the Pacific Northwest is poorly understood and underappreciated by academia and most aficionados of Indigenous North American art. As a result, the genesis of the three main Plateau beadwork traditions--geometric, floral, and pictorial--is often assigned to outside influences. Historic geometric designs are thought to reproduce the work of Plains-dwelling Crow (Apsáalooke) people. Plateau beadwork with floral motifs is believed to draw its inspiration from decorative items created and worn by Woodlands and Great Lakes people who were employed in the 19th-century Columbia River fur trade. Plateau pictorial beadwork is often considered kitsch or folk art, and many casual observers believe that it was generally made for sale to outsiders. All three assumptions are incorrect. During a lifetime collecting Plateau floral and pictorial beadwork, Walla Walla, Washington, resident Fred L. Mitchell has amassed the premier collection of that material. Over time, he has sought to "trade up" and acquire objects that be believes have maximum visual appeal. His collection has become noteworthy not just because of its size, but also because of its quality and diverse subject matter. This text provides an overview of his encyclopedic collection, and it is a basic reference tool for readers who are interested in the interior Pacific Northwest and its history and in Indigenous beadwork as an art form. 

(Sourced form Google Books)

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