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Horsehair Bridles: A Unique American Folk Art


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“The art we read about in newspapers and on the internet that makes the big splash, big record setters, is fine art; modernism, landscape, abstract. The art cherished by people who look underneath the froth is more primitive; self-taught, traditional, created by artisans with no formal training, or members of a social group that has preserved its traditional culture. They call it “folk-art.” Folk-art elicits an historical reaction where function meets decoration. Where cowboys out on the prairie needed equipment with no saddleries for hundreds of miles. Where Indians fastened beads onto hides to inject color and form into their ceremonies. Where prisons surrounded by working ranches were peppered with cowboys who had originated from these same ranches, with those who had developed strong relationships with horses and all the associated western arts. These future artisans had no formal training of any kind. Skills were passed on verbally and slowly. That means usually the young men who would stay a while would obtain advanced skills. Only rarely can records be found which identify the men creating horsehair bridles…so all these artists remain mysterious. But in this mystery there lies the romance of the quest and the stuff that folklore is made of. We will have to fill in our own blanks with names and deeds.” -from the introduction by Linda Kohn Sherwood, High Noon Western Americana, Los Angeles. Hawk Hill Press

PERIOD: Contemporary

ORIGIN: Unknown, United States

SIZE: 14” x 12 ¼” 189 Pages

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