Technique of some South American feather-work. Anthropological papers of the AMNH ; v. 1, pt. 1

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New York : Published by order of the Trustees [of the American Museum of Natural History]
"But little attempt has been made to identify the particular kinds of feathers used in making the above-described ornaments. It may be said in a general way, that the ancient Peruvians employed the feathers of the macaw and of many other varieties of the parrot family, and occasionally (in plumes of the larger head-dresses) those of the king vulture. The Karaja Indians of Brazil use the plumage of the macaw in the greater part of their feather-work, although that of other birds, not identified, will be found. In the work of the Chamacoccos and Guato of Paraguay, feathers of the American ostrich (Rhea) and of different varieties of the parrot family are most commonly used. In describing step by step the process of making the various feather attachments, I have followed the order which seemed most natural; but the same result could, of course, have often been reached by proceeding in a different order. In comparing the different forms of attachments shown in the illustrations, one striking difference will be seen between the methods of the ancient Peruvians and the work of such modem Indians as has been figured. The former employ a true knot in every instance, except in such cases as have the two parts wound together with thread. In the modern work, a loop or turn about the shaft takes the place of the knot. Figs. 1, a, and 8 illustrate the difference between these two methods. If a cord attached to a shaft, as in Fig. 1, a, be slipped downward until free from the feather, and then the ends drawn, a knot will result; but if we draw the ends of the cord in the form shown in Fig. 8, the loop disappears and there is no knot. A few words may be said regarding artificially colored feathers in the work of the South American Indians. I have never been able to detect a single instance of their use among the ancient Peruvians, and the custom would seem to be confined, at the present day, to a few localities. Two ornaments have been described consisting of feathers stained red and purple by aniline dyes. These were used by the Aymará Indians in the vicinity of La Paz, Bolivia, who have lived many years in close contact with the white man, and have become well acquainted with his cheap dyes. The use of these dyed feathers, which have a particularly garish and unnatural appearance, is, I believe, one evidence of the decadence which seems inevitable to Indians in their situation. Primitive man, even in his combinations of most brilliantly colored feathers, seldom produces effects that offend the artistic eye"--P. 17.
17 p., 4 leaves of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references.