Page:The American Indian.djvu/97

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65
CLOTHING

ceed southward into Africa and Australia we meet with peoples who wear skins, but who do not cut them into garments. While there is a climatic factor here, there are still other influences to be considered. Europeans and their New World offspring are the only peoples except the Chinese who specialize in the cutting and fitting of cloth. History shows that tailored garments came into Europe relatively late, whereas in China they seem to be very ancient. Now the Chinese and Europeans were in contact with the reindeer hunters of the North and when we have such continuity for the distribution of a trait we usually consider it a case of diffusion from one center.[1] The continuity of the trait in Siberia and America is also clear. We see, then, that the whole tailoring art of the world has a continuous geographical distribution and centers around skin garments rather than those of cloth.

It has been noted that certain peculiar styles of garment in the bison area were due to the natural form of the skins.[2] This seems to be the natural consequence with a people who, lacking tailoring traditions, worked out a more complete costume of skins. We have noted that in the case of textiles the rectangular form necessitated by the technique of loom weaving, together with the lack of the tailoring idea, gave a characteristic form to the woven garments. In the bison area we find a skin poncho which follows so closely the main form of the textile poncho to the south that it is difficult to deny a historical relation, though, as stated above, the similarity is disguised by the peculiar contour of the edges of the skin.

There are many other interesting problems in costume, but we have no space for their discussion. For example, a study of footgear is highly suggestive. Thus we find in both the Old and New World that the sandal is a correlative of textile clothing. In the bison area, moccasins have hard soles in contrast to those of the forest regions, which, considering the geographical relations, suggests the intrusion of the sandal idea, though denied by Hatt.[3] Going barefoot is peculiarly prevalent on the west coast of the salmon area and is the rule in the southern half of the eastern maize area and thence

  1. Hatt, 1916. I.
  2. Wissler, 1915. II.
  3. Hatt, 1916. I.