Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/104

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96
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

frames and apparatus that they themselves have made, and prepare it... to be woven, or sewed, or embroidered. They make up the bag, or mat, or garment, or sail of a whole piece, and wear it out in use, the same woman in each case following the material from the cradle to the grave." The subsidiary textile arts are of much importance in savagery, and they are of great antiquity, remains having been found in very old deposits.

In her tanning and skin-dressing work the savage woman's problem was to remove the dermis from the hide, and leave the hair adhering to the epidermis, with only a thin portion of the true skin. If the work were creditably done, the surface of the robe, "frequently more than thirty square feet in extent, had to be uniform in thickness throughout, and she should not cut through

PSM V47 D104 Eskimo fat scraper made of walrus ivory fitting the fingers.jpg

Fig. 5. — Eskimo Fat Scraper of Walrus Ivory, made to fit the Fingers. (After Mason.)

the epidermis once. The whole must be as pliable, too, as a woolen blanket: the problem was to reduce a hide of varying thickness and twice too thick everywhere to a robe of uniform thickness throughout without once cutting through the outer part of the skin. Her tools for this varied with the locality. The Eskimo women scrape off the fat with a special tool made of walrus ivory or bone and plane down the dermis with a stone scraper. The Indian women cut off bits of meat and fat and remove the dermis with a hoe or adze. In the good old days of savagery the Eskimo woman made her fat scraper of walrus ivory or antler; her skin scraper was of flinty stone set in a handle of ivory, wood, or horn, whichever material was easiest to procure. But later on, it may