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Shover, Edna Mann / Art in costume design: practical suggestions for those interested in art, sewing, history and literature

Chapter III: Primitive and Egyptian costumes,   pp. [29]-45 PDF (5.4 MB)

Page 30

30                 ART IN             DSIGN 
    In every country at different stages of the world's civilization 
there is to be considered the primitive man, or one who came before 
the records of history were kept. By the term "primitive man" is
meant a stage of thought, not a period of time. 
Primitive costume. Nature, with only a little aid from the human 
hand, provided the costumes for the race. Man clothed himself and 
his family with skins of animals, or with cloth made of wood fibre. If 
the climate was warm, the garb was scant and the children were not 
clad at all; if the weather was cold larger skins and a greater number 
of them were used. When these covered the head and upper part of 
the body, the fur was most often left on; but such a garment seemed 
awkward for the limbs below the knees and for the feet, so the fur 
was removed and the skin or leather alone was used. A rough dress; 
if such a covering may be called a dress, was made of leather or 
fibre-cloth. This consisted of a short slip which hung from the 
shoulders. It was sometimes left loose at the waist but often was 
belted in with a leather thong. 
    Little is known of the fibre made garments and since they had 
no great influence upon the more civilized dress of later periods, their
history is not of importance. It is interesting to know however, that 
they preceded the garment of woven and dyed cloth. 
    The fibre of the bark of trees was carefully wet and pressedwith a 
heavy weight but was neither woven nor dyed. Later the Egyptians 
made a similar cloth from the papyrus plant but this cloth has never 

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