Harvard College Library

Exhibition at Cabot Explores Native American Craftsmanship and Culture

February 5, 2004 - The exhibition, Innovation and Tradition: An Example of Cultural Survival, examines the interplay between Native American communities and international cultures in the 19th century. A photograph of a side-fold dress (ca.1800-1825) demonstrates how objects from around the world were used to decorate Native American clothing (the dress is currently on display at the Peabody Museum in the exhibition From Nation to Nation, Examining Lewis & Clark's Indian Collection). Brass buttons lining the top of the dress originated in England, glass beads on the fringe have been traced to Italy, while shells on the dress are from the Maldives Islands, most likely entering North America through African slave ships. Native American craftsmanship is explored in a section detailing how dress makers stitched porcupine quills to garments and how natural substances were used to color these quills. In addition, the exhibition displays a photo of a contemporary "jingle dress," a descendant of the side-fold dress. The exhibition is on display through May 28 at Cabot Science Library. For details, call Dana Mastrioanni at 617-496-5534.


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