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The Golden Book of Indian Crafts and Lore Board book – 1 Jan 1954


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Board book, 1 Jan 1954
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Amazon.com: 11 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Gold standard reference on Indian crafts and lore. Buy It. 22 Aug. 2007
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Board book
`The Golden Book of Indian Crafts and Lore' by W. Ben Hunt is a true `golden oldie', first published over 50 year ago, in 1954 and published for at least for the next 15 years, as I have a 19th printing, with new cover art, but identical content, dated 1968, as well as my original 1954 edition. Looking back at it and its `competitor', `The Book of Indian Crafts and Costumes' by Bernard S. Mason, I'm struck by how durable both books are, being as good a guide to their subjects as they were to me and all my fellow Boy Scouts in the late 1950's. And, it is such a great thing to have both volumes. While they cover the identical subject, and have a strong similarity in style, one really must have both to be fully informed about the subject.
Of course, if you really only have room or funds for one, Hunt's book is far more accessible, albeit just a bit less deep. Hunt's book is entirely in color, with drawn rather than photographed illustrations. And, when you are dealing with a handicraft, drawings are far more effective, since the artist can highlight the essentials of the pictured technique and avoid accidental distractions such as shadows and, with aging photography, grainy images. Mason's pics were grainy even when they were new, and they have not improved with age.
As a dedicated practitioner of Indian lore for over three years, in connection with an active Indian dancing performing troupe, connected with (catch the pun) a Boy Scout Troop 7 and then Explorer Post 7, I couldn't avoid Hunt's book, as it seemed to have an almost official status as a manual on the subject in the Boy Scout world. One only encountered Mason's book if, as I was, both an Indian lore enthusiast AND something of a bibliophile.
One fact which strikes me now, upon returning to Hunt's book after 50 years, is that the interest in American Indian costumes is probably not an automatic thing. The American Indian decorative traditions are probably, in fact, more elaborate, more colorful, and easier to reproduce than the ethnic costumes of practically any other primitive or folk culture. You don't need a sewing machine (although it helps) and you don't need the skills to work with metal (although store-bought ax heads purchased from the European settlers certainly helps too).
This is one area where the differences between Hunt and Mason are most pronounced. Hunt basically works with 20th century manufactured raw materials such as beads, thread, cloth, and needles. Mason does the same, but goes one step further in showing you how the original Indians actually did it themselves. As someone who wove more than my share of tens of thousands of Czechoslovakian manufactured seed beads on a modern metal replica of a beading loom, I have no interest in becoming even more `authentic' by making my own beads, tanning my own rawhide, or spinning my own thread, not to mention using bone needles. Stainless steel suits me just fine. But, I really appreciate Mason's taking the extra effort to show us how it was done.
A second difference between the two is that Hunt has sections on Indian dances and dance steps while Mason, true to his title, deals exclusively with handicrafts. And, Mason typically covers a broader range of styles and techniques than Hunt.
Neither book deals in depth with the differences in dress and decoration across the hundreds of American Indian tribes. The archetype, so familiar from so many western movies, is the decoration of the plains Indians, such as the Sioux and Cheyenne. Both books deal secondarily with styles of the eastern woodland tribes such as the Iroquois and Algonquin and the tribes of the southwest such as the Navajo and Pueblo. But, these are books of crafts and designs, not ethnography!
Neither book includes a bibliography, but both authors have done other works on the same subject, and I'm sure these volumes are as useful as these two works.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Best of the basics 29 Oct. 2006
By S. F. Obermeyer Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Board book
Written for middle school level, this is a great introduction to Native American outfitting. All the full color illustrations are inspirational to the beginning crafter at almost all grade levels. A lot of lifetime devotion to Native American culture was started by this book over the decades since 1954
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A classic for the hobbiest 24 Aug. 2006
By P. A. Christian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
One of my favorite books when growing up: Using this book as a guide my brother and I built a tipi, headresses, moccassins, and other accroutraments. Anyone who needs some good crafts projects will have a wonderful time with this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Classic From a Bygone Era 31 Oct. 2010
By OtherWorlds&Wisdom - Published on Amazon.com
The first edition of this book came from the 1950s, a classic era of Golden and Wonder books. Most kids now would never attempt the projects in here - most couldn't. Attached to their cellphones and ipods like zombies, their skill and creativity level is low, not to mention their poor health from never going outside. Luckily, there has been a little comeback in books like this. See The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Original Boy's Handy Book (a reprint of one of the older books). The companion volume is the The golden book of nature crafts: Hobbies and activities for boys and girls.
Excellent Primer! 22 April 2008
By Morgaine Vivianne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Board book
I originally checked this book out of our school library back in the late 60's. It, along with Ben Hunt's "Indian Beadwork", were the first books that really explained beadwork and all the other methods of making Native American items.

This book ignited a longing to search out more information on the Native American people and their cultures and customs. Over the years, this research has broadened my knowledge and appreciation.

The book is filled with color illustrations, information, and how-to's that are very easy to follow. I bought the book to share with my grandchildren (gotta admit it...as well as a present to myself), and hopefilly, they will find the same joy and wonder that I did. I hope you do, too!
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