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The Maori Mantle: and some Comparative Notes on NW American Twined Work

Nature volume 113, page 638 (03 May 1924) | Download Citation



EARLY accounts of the inhabitants of New Zealand describe their body-garment as a mat or cloth, almost square in shape; and in this later writers concur. These garments have also been made a subject of study by modern writers on Maori culture, such as Mr. Elsdon Best. There are, however, several points which have remained obscure, and these Mr. Ling Roth has endeavoured to elucidate in this valuable monograph. The author gives the results of an exhaustive study of specimens in museums and private collections upon which his profound knowledge of the technique of primitive textile work has been brought to bear. The method of manufacture, he points out, is that known to technologists as “twining,” and not that of weaving. Mr. Ling Roth's letterpress, taken in conjunction with the very full series of illustrations, which are responsible for the high price of the book, may be regarded as the last word on the technological side of the subject. This, however, does not exhaust its interest. The conclusions at which the author has arrived as to the light these technical processes throw upon the question of cultural affinities may be commended to the careful attention of ethnologists.

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