ESKIMO CRAFTS: And Their Cultural Backgrounds by Jeremy Comins

ESKIMO CRAFTS: And Their Cultural Backgrounds

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To begin a book on Eskimo crafts with that cute little furry doll, the owl-like Ookpik, is condescending enough; to imply that the student-made creatures shown here (""a short strip of ribbon adds an unusual touch"") have anything to do with Arctic culture is ridiculous. And though it's true that ""plastic is as common in our life as ivory was to the Eskimo,"" it doesn't follow that engraving pictures on plastic recalls the scrimshaw tradition--any more than Comins' students' silly paper masks recall the still powerful and spooky originals. And the fact that Eskimos, among many others, work in applique and stencils doesn't authenticate the corny love birds, cheerleader and comix-style rabbit shown here. To mix John Houston's Steuben glass refinements with real Eskimo carvings (including some fine--and famous--examples) in a chapter on sculpture is simply further evidence of the author's insensitivity. A desecration.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1975
Page count: 126pp
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard