Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/106

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

shaped on the outer edge, and a most excellent device for cutting skin without marring the hair. Scissors would be useless in this connection, for they would shear the hair as well as the hide and make an ugly seam. In the fitting of garments these primitive PSM V47 D106 California cradle frame.jpgFig. 8.—California Cradle Frame. (After Mason.) tailors anticipated the long list of terms, such as puckering, gathering, inserting gores, and the like. For tucks in their more beautiful dresses they inserted band after band of the skins of different animals, bits from different parts of the same hide, and strips of bare hide ornamented by quill-work. Tufts of feathers or long hair, pendants of shell, hoof, teeth, or bone—in short, all objects of comely shape and pretty color and proper size—were gathered into the costumes of men and children as well as into their own." The reticule, the tobacco bag, the traveling case, the bandbox, and the packing trunk all exist among savages, and in North America were made by women, chiefly from the hides of animals.

The potter's art may be seen in its pristine simplicity in the soapstone or earthen lamp and stove of the Eskimo, and in the arid regions of New Mexico and Arizona, as well as in South America, Africa, and New Guinea; and it is woman that carries it on. "In the Southwestern States of our Union women have, from time immemorial, practiced the art of pottery with the greatest success. There is no reason to believe that their present methods and tools and products are different at all from what they were a thousand years ago.... The women go forth to the mesa, where the proper layers of clay are exposed, and quarry the raw material. To do this, one would say they ought to be good mineralogists and skillful engineers. They also gather from the sediment of the streams most excellent clay for their paste." If the potter-woman does not find this excellent paste, she gathers and carries home on her back the clay quarried from the mesa; and in doing this she becomes a pack-woman. She washes the clay, lets the gravel and worthless material sink or float, decants the liquid, and allows the fine aluminous earth to