Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes

By Selwyn Dewdney and Kenneth E. Kidd

© 1962

This book describes in word and illustration the results of an exciting quest on the part of its authors to discover and record Indian rock paintings of Northern Ontario and Minnesota. Numerous drawings were made from these pictographs at a hundred different sites; the originals range in age from four to five hundred years to a thousand, and were done with the simplest materials: fingers for brushes, fine clay impregnated with ferrous oxide giving the characteristic red paint. Where an overhanging rock protected a vertical face from dripping water or on dry, naked rock faces the Indians recorded the forest life with which they lived in intimate association—deer, caribou, rabbit, heron, trout, canoes, animal tracks—and also abstractions which puzzle and intrigue the modern viewer. Many of the paintings could only have been done from a canoe or a convenient rock ledge.

Selwyn Dewdney travelled many thousands of miles by canoe to make the drawings of the pictographs which illustrate every page of this fascinating and attractive book. He provides also a general analysis of the materials used by the Indians, of their subject-matter and the artistic rendering given to it, and his artist's journal records in detail the sites he visited, the paintings he found at each, the comparisons among them that came to mind, the references to rock paintings in early literature of the Northwest. Kenneth E. Kidd contributes a valuable essay on the anthropological background of the area, linking the rock paintings with early cave art in, for example, France and Spain, describing the life of the Indians in the Shield country, and commenting on what the pictographs reveal of their makers' attitudes to their external world and of their thinking.

This is a book which will appeal to a wide audience: to those interested in primitive art forms and in Canadian art in general, to all students of the early history of North America, to travellers who in increasing numbers follow the canoe trails of the Shield lakes and rivers.

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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 136 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.6in x 0.3in x 9.5in
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SKU# SP004681

  • PUBLISHED DEC 1962

    From: $18.71

    Regular Price: $24.95

    ISBN 9781442639874
  • PUBLISHED DEC 1962

    From: $18.71

    Regular Price: $24.95

Quick Overview

This book describes in word and illustration the results of an exciting quest on the part of its authors to discover and record Indian rock paintings of Northern Ontario and Minnesota.

Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes

By Selwyn Dewdney and Kenneth E. Kidd

© 1962

This book describes in word and illustration the results of an exciting quest on the part of its authors to discover and record Indian rock paintings of Northern Ontario and Minnesota. Numerous drawings were made from these pictographs at a hundred different sites; the originals range in age from four to five hundred years to a thousand, and were done with the simplest materials: fingers for brushes, fine clay impregnated with ferrous oxide giving the characteristic red paint. Where an overhanging rock protected a vertical face from dripping water or on dry, naked rock faces the Indians recorded the forest life with which they lived in intimate association—deer, caribou, rabbit, heron, trout, canoes, animal tracks—and also abstractions which puzzle and intrigue the modern viewer. Many of the paintings could only have been done from a canoe or a convenient rock ledge.

Selwyn Dewdney travelled many thousands of miles by canoe to make the drawings of the pictographs which illustrate every page of this fascinating and attractive book. He provides also a general analysis of the materials used by the Indians, of their subject-matter and the artistic rendering given to it, and his artist's journal records in detail the sites he visited, the paintings he found at each, the comparisons among them that came to mind, the references to rock paintings in early literature of the Northwest. Kenneth E. Kidd contributes a valuable essay on the anthropological background of the area, linking the rock paintings with early cave art in, for example, France and Spain, describing the life of the Indians in the Shield country, and commenting on what the pictographs reveal of their makers' attitudes to their external world and of their thinking.

This is a book which will appeal to a wide audience: to those interested in primitive art forms and in Canadian art in general, to all students of the early history of North America, to travellers who in increasing numbers follow the canoe trails of the Shield lakes and rivers.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 136 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.6in x 0.3in x 9.5in
  • Author Information

    Selwyn Dewdney (1909-1979) was a well-known Canadian author, illustrator, artist, activist and pioneer in both art therapy and pictography.



    Kenneth E. Kidd (1906-1994) was a professor emeritus of anthropology at Trent University. He established and chaired the Native Studies Program which was the first of its kind in Canada.

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