A huge, oversize, fully illustrated look at an American folk-art treasure, complete with hundreds of lavish full-color photographs.
A wildfowl decoy is a workingman's tool, a functional object that hunters use to lure game within a range. A wildfowl decoy is a work of art, a painted sculpture, a portrait of a bird, an expression of an artist's skill and imagination. A wildfowl decoy is also a piece of history, for wildfowl decoys are unique to the New World: several thousand years ago, North American Indians hunted with decoys - until the last century, European hunters made do by tying live birds to sticks. Finally, a wildfowl decoy is folklore, a form of regional art: decoys mimic bird species found along our ocean coasts and up and down our inland waterways and they were created, one at a time, by true folk artists. Folk art created to serve as a purpose, folk art that has become history, folk art tied to geography and to the world of bird: the aspects of wild fowl decoys are reflected in the variety of wildfowl decoy collectors, for collecting decoys has become an international hobby, attracting sportsmen, antique collectors, folk art enthusiasts, and interior decorators. Once overlooked by most collectors, wildfowl decoys have now become a primary interest, with auction prices reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys presents decoys in the most sensible and comprehensive way: by region, with each region discussed by a recognized expert in that area. Thus the entire range of decoys is covered, from Canada down the Atlantic Coast and inland along streams and rivers to Louisiana and up the Mississippi to the Great Lakes and across to California and Oregon. Also included are chapters on European decoys, on the history of decoys, how decoys were made, and how to go about collecting decoys. There are also a list of public collections of decoys, a bibliography, a record of top auction prices, maps of waterfowl flyways, and an index. Every decoy is a sculptural symbol of a bygone era, the great age of market gunning, and every decoy evokes a time and a place, an artist and a region. Placed on a shelf, any single decoy has a story to tell; thus the enormous selection of decoys presented in this book has many stories to tell, and each is told by the person who knows it best.
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