Page:The American Indian.djvu/131

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89
DESIGN AREAS

forms noted above and not the usual type of textile designs. It has been clearly shown that this decoration was directly copied from house fronts.[1] Now, if the blanket came from the Southeast it must have arisen in a place and at a time too remote to have incorporated this decoration at the start. In fact, there is evidence of several sorts to show that these textiles were originally decorated with bands of small geometric figures. The basketry of the Haida and Tlingit[2] shows a similar banded style, and this, in turn, has a curious resemblance to the quill woven bands of the Déné people of the adjacent caribou area. The significance of the latter is not clear.

Thus, we find in this art area a good example of conflict between a carving center and a textile one, the Chilkat blanket being about the only compromise. The Eskimo of Alaska took up basketry but not its design decoration.

Next we turn to a more difficult problem; namely, the art of the southern half of the eastern maize area. The data available are so much less adequate than for the preceding that one must hesitate to even enter such a discussion. For though, as stated elsewhere, we have historical records vouching for a higher textile development in the Gulf States than in the North, no specimens have come down to us. There are reasons for suspecting that the bag weaving we have noted for the upper section of the Mississippi Valley is in a large measure the fringe of this area, but without some corroborative data we are scarcely justified in formulating it as an assumption. Basketry has survived in Louisiana,[3] where we find cane weaving in designs of black and red. As previously stated, the material and technique restrict designs to just such as we find here, and from this it may be inferred that they truly represent the former basketry art of the whole southeastern area. What may be the relation of the pottery found here to the historic tribes is also a puzzle. If this pottery was extant at the period of discovery, then one of the most distinctive design concepts was the spiral scroll.

When we turn to the art of the intense culture area, our problem becomes very largely one of archæology and the yet undetermined sequences of culture, because the thoroughness

  1. Boas, in Emmons, 1907. I.
  2. Emmons, 1903. I.
  3. Swanton, 1911. I.