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The papoose
Vol. I. No. 2. (January, 1903)

Indian decorations in the home,   pp. 10-12


Page 11

a want of artistic perception and a lack of innate refinement
in the gorgeous ostentation with which he decorates his home.
A man of wide sympathies, broad culture, and refined mind,
unconsciously reveals himself in the chaste, appropriate
and yet widely differing articles of decoration and art with
which he surrounds himself in his home.
Surely, then, the use of those articles with which the
intimate and inner life of our predecessors in the possession
of the soil we now called our own is inseparably connected,
will appeal to the man of culture, refinement, and fine sen-
sibilities. And basketry is widespread; it is interesting
evidence of the earliest development of the useful faculties
and gave the first opportunities for the exercise of the dawn-
ing 2esthetic senses; in its late development it became to the
oborigine what the cathedral was to Europe in the middle
ages : the book of record of aspirations, ideals, fears, emo-
tions, poetry, and religion. Victor Hugo strikingly ex-
claimed, "the book has killed the building!" and thus
aroused in all minds a desire to preserve the original signifi-
cance attached to the cathedrals-the lofty spires speaking
of man's aspirations heavenward; the solemn and silent
aisles of the solemnity with which he should approach God;
the statues of apostles, prophets, and martyrs, acting as, his-
toric reminders of grand and godlike lives in the past;
the figures of demons reminding him of the constant war-
fare of the soul to overcome evil ; the more beautiful figures
of angels and saints keeping him in remembrance that the
powers of good were watching over him and were ever ready
to give him help; the crook reminding him of the Good
Shepherd who longed to lead His flocks into the green pas-
tures ; and the cross, of the sacrifice of Himself that the
world might be saved-all these and a thousand other things
which the bookless middle ages wrought into their sacred struc-
tures, we now see and remember with veneration and de-
light. And so, though of course in a less measure, do these
more modest memorials of a simpler and less developed
people appeal to our sympathies and ask us to preserve their
original significance. It would be a misfortune to our ad-
vancing civilization to lose sight of that which meant so
much to those of a dying civilization. We know ourselves
better when we know what stirred the hearts, moved the
emotions, and quickened the higher faculties of the races
of the past. These baskets, thus looked at, become, the
embalmed mummies of the mentality and spirituality of ages
that are past-of a civilization that would soon otherwise be
lost. Every well-appointed house might appropriately ar-
range an Indian corner. Here baskets,. pottery, blankets,
arrow-points, spear-heads, beads, wampum, pelts, kilts,


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