The Pima and Papago devote considerable attention to agriculture. They raise corn, beans, melons, etc., utilizing irrigation when necessary. Both these peoples make pottery vessels by applying successive rounds of clay rolled into a long cylinder. After drying in the sun, the vessel is polished and given a coat of red shale or white earth. The firing is done in a small pit. After the first firing the de-signs are painted with mesquite gum, which becomes black when subjected to a slight refiring. Their basketry is usually of the coiled type. The coiled tray, when turned wrong side up, also serves as a drum on ceremonial occasions or when the medicine man is treating his patients by magic.
The Yurok, Hupa and Shasta tribes are represented here in this collection of the American Museum of Natural History by articles of everyday use, costumes worn in their ceremonials, dances, games, etc.
The currency of the Indians of northern California and the coast north to Alaska consisted of the shells of a small mollusk (Dentalium). Their value was estimated according to their length. The individual pieces were measured by the creases on the fingers, each man having his own determined measure, and entire strings were measured on the arm from the thumbnail to a series of tattooed marks on the forearm. The California Indians were ignorant of the true origin of dentalium, and they have many stories of its being obtained from various animals. Comparison of this primitive currency of the far West, found in this series, with the wampum currency of the extreme East is interesting.
The Maidu of the Sacramento Valley are represented by models of their houses, foods, medicines, clothing and utilitarian objects. Like many of the tribes of California, they make use of acorns for food, and a model illustrating its preparation may be seen.
The Pomo excel in basketry. Soft brown geometrical designs on a background of tan predominate. Certain specimens have small red and black feathers interwoven, while others are entirely covered with yellow and green feathers, with ornamentations of shell. These latter types are rare and very valuable.
The pueblo of Acoma is the oldest continuously inhabited town in the United States. It stands on a mesa 357 feet higher than the surrounding plain, in the western part of New Mexico, and was visited and described by members of Coronado's party in 1540. Acoma pottery is among the best known of any made by primitive peoples and is frequently purchased by tourists. It is highly decorated with conventionalized designs of flowers, clouds and butterflies. A comprehensive series of selected specimens is exhibited, together with the material used in its manufacture.
From the Zuni have been secured exceedingly interesting articles used in their ceremonials.
The prehistoric peoples of Utah are represented by examples of rare and interesting specimens of basketry and pottery.
In the section of the American Museum of Natural History devoted to the Hopi exhibit is an exhaustive series of images known as Bahos in the Marau ceremony and Tihus in the Kachina ceremonies.
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