Cloth and Human Experience by Weiner Annette B Schneider Jane
The Trobriand Islanders' fabric is made by scraping fibers from banana leaves the texture, we're told, is similar to crepe paper. Samoans get their cloth by separating fibers from the pandanus plant and plait splendid mats with it. In Zaire, raffia textiles are pounded from palm leaves. Never mind what these fabrics came from or how they were made.
They are used to keep people warm, to honor the dead, to dazzle admirers and, in certain cases, to serve as tribute. So important were the symbolic meanings of Incan cloth that when the Spanish conquered Peru, some Incan kings torched the textile warehouses - a nearly unthinkable act - rather than let the goods fall into enemy hands.
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This book also tells us that in India, too, cloth had an important symbolic function, as the British colonial governors increasingly codified native dress. Before the British ruled India, Moguls had delighted in gorgeous fabrics, and when the British arrived with their Oriental war fantasies, they quickly developed their Anglo-Indian military styles from what they believed was quintessential Indian military garb. By , there was an explosion of multicolored breeches, cummerbunds, tunics, turbans, boots and scimitars that would make Ralph Lauren giddy.
Gandhi, quick to grasp the symbolism of clothes, later re-Indianized his country's dress to galvanize the Indian populace to the nationalist cause. Though societies frequently assign great value to cloth, they do not always honor its producers. In nearly all the examples of cloth manufacture described in the book, mass production first devalues the workers' skills, then the workers themselves, then any cultural significance the garment may have had.
Soft cover. Condition: Near Fine.
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A clean, tight, and square copy, unmarked. Seller Inventory TX More information about this seller Contact this seller 1. Published by Smithsonian Institution Press About this Item: Smithsonian Institution Press, Condition: Used: Good. More information about this seller Contact this seller 2.
A clean, totally unmarked and firmly bound copy. Pages fine. Paper cover clean, slightly edge rubbed - no creasing to spine. Binding firm and intact.
Cloth and Human Experience
Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller 3. Published by Smithsonian Books About this Item: Smithsonian Books , Condition: New. More information about this seller Contact this seller 4. Condition: UsedGood. Paperback; fading, light scuffing, and shelf wear to exterior; remainder mark to top page edge; otherwise in good condition with clean text and tight binding. More information about this seller Contact this seller 5. Condition: Very Good. This lucid, handsome volume, introduced and thus blessed by Annette Weiner and conceived in the tradition of Weinner's and Schneider's pivotal volume, Cloth and Human Experience constitutes a rich source for Africanists, anthropologists, social, economic, and art historians, as well as students of textile arts and of material culture.
What is perhaps best about this book is what it does not require a specialist to enjoy it, to learn from it, and to apply its lessons to related contexts of material and symbolic expression. Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine.
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Reinhild Kauenhoven. Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc. March