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Native American Clothing Hardcover – 16 Nov 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd (16 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554074339
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554074334
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 3 x 28.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,172,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


[starred review] This is a wise author who allows his pictures to represent one thousands words--and more.--Barbara Jacobs"Booklist" (12/15/2009)

The essays are scholarly without being complicated.... A good introduction to Native American culture and North American history.--Valerie Nye, College of Santa Fe, New Mexico"Library Journal" (12/01/2009)

The book's large format and beautiful color images makes this title a worthy addition to any collection.--Molly Krichten"Library Journal" (02/01/2011)

A fashion book with a difference, this gorgeous coffee-table book featuring more than 300 colour and black-and-white photographs of native dress through the ages is penned by a Canadian anthropologist, art history professor and museum curator whose detailed and passionate commentary breathes life into each depicted artifact. Clothing as history.

Brasser writes with solid foundations and with clarity about this subject. This survey comes alive for us first with the 300 illustrations. They are sumptuously presented and include early paintings of Native Americans and scarce portraits of tribal leaders dressed in their regalia. Theodore Brasser lays out a plush pictorial history of tribal groups in 12 regions across North America in [this] weighty, 368-page hardback. [In] this lush, beautiful volume...Brasser breaks the collection into 12 regional groups which represent unique habitats...moving in the direction of European contact, from south to north and from east to west. Each chapter includes a detailed map, the names and localities of various tribal groups, and relevant history, including what is known of pre-contact histories and the region's interaction with Europeans. Throughout, Brasser includes paintings made by European artists...illustrating how native peoples were clothed and decorated at the time of initial contact. Historical essays describe a series of mostly tragic events, emphasizing the improbable survival of so many beautiful garments, bowls, rugs, bags, belts, and other artifacts. Featuring an amazing breadth of clothing design, motif, and technique, Brasser's volume makes an excellent cross-collection resource for anyone interested in indigenous art or Native American history. Author Brasser (former curator National Museum of Ethnology, Netherlands, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa) provides a lavishly illustrated history and visual record of the clothing of native people from 12 regions of the North American continent. The 300 photographs, many of them published for the first time, are set in historical contexts covering topics such as agriculture, ceremonies, craftsmanship and materials, cultural identity, diet, the division of labor, hunting, migration routes, mythology, shamanism, and others.

Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 photographs from both museum and private collections...This is truly a gorgeous and thoroughly engaging book!

[starred review] By their garments shall you know them. Brasser shares his substantial knowledge with readers as he meanders through 49 states and Canada and parts of northern Mexico to document the history of Native peoples. More than a runway of clothing, the more than 300 color photographs illustrate the similarities and differences among more than two dozen tribes. The author includes archival photographs, plus pictures of weapons, baby cradles, pottery, and baskets, in addition to the illustrations of beaded moccasins, skin shirts and skirts, elaborately plumed headdresses, and the like. The 12 chapters divide the three nations by geography, with early historical facts, maps, spiritual beliefs, and everyday customs, notes about language and assimilation as well as, sadly, the impact of climate change. This is a wise author who allows his pictures to represent one thousands words--and more.--Barbara Jacobs"Booklist" (12/15/2009)

This title presents 200 high-resolution color images of clothing, including shoes, scarves, hair ornaments, m asks, leggings, and belts, created primarily in the 19th century by native North Americans. Divided into 12 chapters covering native culture, climate, and information about the arrival of Europeans, the essays are scholarly without being complicated. This detail-rich anthology is Brasser's (art history, Carleton Univ. and Trent Univ.) second book on Native American art and is padded with his scholarly background for the National Museum of Ethnology, Netherlands, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. A good introduction to Native American culture and North American history.--Valerie Nye, College of Santa Fe, New Mexico"Library Journal" (12/01/2009)

One can't summon enough superlatives to describe this truly beautiful, definitive history of aboriginal clothing, organized into 12 regions covering all of North America. More than 300 superb photos document the artistry and ingenuity of indigenous people through artifacts such as leggings, moccasins and headdresses. Author Theodore Brasser, an academic and former curator at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, expertly traces the social and historical context of everything from Inuit parkas to Hopi masks in this simply stunning volume.--Alison Mayes"Winnipeg Free Press" (12/05/2009)

Native American Clothing: An Illustrated History is a one-stop compendium of images of and information about the clothing and decorative arts of the First People of all North American regions. The book introduces each region with relevant historical and geographical context. Images are typically captioned with comprehensive information.... It is well indexed, and the photo credits will lead researchers to collections and museums to further investigate.... The book's large format and beautiful color images makes this title a worthy addition to any collection in need of information about Native American art and customs, or clothing tradition and design. While image-intensive books such as this one are typically expensive, Native American Clothing: An Illustrated History gives collection developers more bang for the buck, as it is a highly usable and beautifully formatted work, suitable for middle school through college-level researchers.--Molly Krichten"Library Journal" (02/01/2011)

About the Author

Theodore Brasser was a curator at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, professor of art history at Carleton University and professor of anthropology at Trent University. He has written extensively for "American Indian Art" magazine and numerous museum and scholarly publications.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book. I bought several on the subject and this was by far the best. Richly illustrated, very informative and very very inspiring.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the best book with good research on the Plain people. Picture quality is superb. Useful information. Worth the buy!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8b42be58) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x895b97bc) out of 5 stars Serious students of Indian clothing, don't waste your money! 14 Jan. 2010
By tribal arts dealer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is just another coffee table book, or maybe it would fit in a high school library. The title is entirely misleading; there is precious little clothing illustrated. Lots of baskets, landscapes and material culture dominate the color pictures but if you're interested in various forms of dress for the different tribes, you'd do better to look at American Indian Art Magazine, or at other coffee table or serious books of museum collections. For me, this was a colossal waste of money.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8935a990) out of 5 stars An Important and Informed overview! 28 Mar. 2012
By Castle Mclaughlin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ted Brasser has been studying Native American culture and clothing for 50 years, has published extensively, and is widely respected for his knowledge and experience. Most authors of similar books simply re-cycle and package old information (and images of key objects). Those authors who "research" objects at museums tend to take museum catalogue records at face value with regard to cultural and temporal attributions. Consequently their publications are full of errors-including the title mentioned by the first reviewer here. (In my book Arts of Diplomacy I discuss why old museum records are so often faulty, and describe the research done to identify "Lewis and Clark" objects at the Peabody Museum, where I am a curator).

In contrast, Brasser, a former curator with extensive experience looking at museum collections around the world, spends much of his time challenging, clarifying and adding to what we know about the historic material culture of Native American peoples. This book is full of color images of garments and related cultural material-not JUST clothing (although there is plenty of that) because clothing doesn't exist in isolation! To understand design styles, material histories, and meanings it is necessary to look across forms, and to look at earlier styles in say, dresses, as well as stylistic influences from other groups. Clothing is a product of living cultures and historic changes.

Because he pays attention to such things, this book presents a much more sophisticated and informed view of Native American garments than the average overview of tribal styles. I'm giving it 5 stars to compensate for the other review.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8935a894) out of 5 stars Gorgeous pictures and indepth discussion make this a great book 11 May 2012
By Jane in Milwaukee - Published on
Format: Hardcover
What's wrong with this being a "coffee table book" as one reviewer complains? In general, such books are the best researched and they're always the best illustrated books in their genre. This book is no exception. I've admired Native American culture and dress for decades. When I was a teen, I hooked up with a group of Eagle Scouts who were into authentic costuming and dancing at powwows. So my aunt purchased an authentic deerskin dress and moccasins and we made one for me from heavy felt. I added beadwork I had woven and we wore the jewelry and shawls of Northern plains Sioux or Cheyenne. And we learned how to dance the conservative step dance and tried out "fancy dancing" as well. We learned about "honor beats" in the singing and drumming and watched our friends dance authentically as grass- or buffalo dancers. I still go to powwows whenever I can and am fascinated at how deferential war veterans are (appropriately) treated and the ritual for retrieving an eagle feather that has fallen on the ground.

My only complaint about this book is that it mentions powwows only twice, the second reference being how popular they are for Native Americans to inculcate their young people into the traditions and to celebrate their heritage. While the book does discuss dances of various tribes, there is no mention that Native Americans are the only ones who can legally own--and harvest from dead birds--American bald eagle feathers as specified in all the major treaties with the government. Since Native Americans active in traveling the powwow circuit, as the book describes, I would think photographing and examining these often antique and always authentic articles would be useful.

That said, as a museum reference the book is outstanding: glorious, detailed photos of many, many articles of dress along with art objects, household goods, baskets, pottery, toys, and articles of religious and spiritual significance. The discussion of the various areas all over North and a little in Central and South America bring the common traditions and distinctions to light. Nice, nice book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x895b9bf4) out of 5 stars Native American Clothing 2 Jun. 2014
By Ronald M. Howard - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very informative book concerning native American clothing. It is greatly illustrated with excellent photos and explains why the various tribes chose what they did based on geography and what nature provided - and eventually the white invaders. I love it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89660eac) out of 5 stars Good Reference Book 17 May 2014
By Brill Lee - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good books with excellent photographs ; A must reference for the collector, novice, and interested party. Would do business with again. AAAAA+++++
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