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June 18 , 2008

Aboriginal American Weaving


Wonderful as is the development of modern machinery for the manufacture of American textiles—machinery which seems almost human in the way it converts raw materials into finished cloth; just as surprising are the most primitive looms of the American aborigines, who without the aid of machinery make interesting weavings with only a bar upon which to suspend the warp threads while the human hand completes all the processes of manufacture. Modern man's inventive genius in the textile art has been expended upon perfecting the machinery, while primitive man's ingenuity has resulted in making a beautiful weaving with very simple means. No doubt could we know the history of primitive loom work in America prior to the coming of the white man, we would find an extended distribution of weaving, but all early textiles have been lost owing to the destructability of the material and the lack of climatic and Other conditions suitable for their preservation—conditions such as are present in the hot desert lands of the Southwest and the coast region of Peru. However, so many impressions of weavings have been found on early pottery as to assure us that beautiful work of this kind was made in eastern, middle and southern United States. In western British Columbia at the present time there are tribes carrying on certain forms of weaving which show four interesting types. Kwakiutl squaw, weawing FIGURE 1.—KWAKIUTL SQUAW, WEAVING
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