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MEXICAN SERAPE REPRESENTING EXTINCT WEAVING WHICH CANNOT BE IMITATED BY MACHINERY
The pattern is in two colors of indigo on a tan-colored ground. Old Saltillo serapes have a beauty of color and design rivaling the fabrics of Persia and India and comparable with fine old mummycloths of Peru
THE ANSON W. HARD COLLECTION OF SALTILLO AND
OME very wonderful examples of American aboriginal weaving are displayed at the northern end of the hall devoted to the Indians of the Southwest. The exhibit consists of twenty-five Chimayo and Saltillo blankets known as Mexican "zarapes" or "serapes," purchased for the Museum by Anson W. Hard in 1910. The weaving represented in these blankets is now extinct and there is no way by which it can be imitated exactly by machinery. Fine examples of the blankets are difficult to obtain having received practically no attention from museums and collectors, probably because thought until recently of Spanish origin instead of Indian.
It is well-known that the Navajo are the only extensive blanket-weaving Indians of North America to-day. It is believed however, that if the full story of weaving in this country prior to the coming of the white man were known, we should find that the art was widespread through eastern, southern, middle and western North America. This is thought to be the fact not from the existence of samples of this weaving but from the evidence of impressions of patterns of weaving on pottery preserved in these regions, and from the relationships of the various North American tribes. Textiles cannot long survive in a moist changing climate. It is only in dry regions such as the Southwest and the coastal parts of Peru that delicate fabrics could have been preserved.
Throughout Mexico serapes were formerly much worn as ponchos or simply carried over the shoulder. The great market for them was the town of Saltillo in northern Mexico. Chimayo blankets made by Chimayo Indians of northern New Mexico, who are now practically extinct, are thought to be the connecting link between Navajo and Saltillo weaving. Four types of blanket weaving have been known-namely, among the people of Peru, the Pueblos of New Mexico, heirs to the art of the Cliff Dwellers, the Navajo of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Indians of Alaska. Little has been known of the textile art between Peru and the more northerly centers. It is fortunate therefore that these examples of aboriginal weaving from Saltillo have come into the possession of the Museum.
Saltillo blankets are large, often measuring seven by ten feet, and show very minute patterns for North American hand weaving. They are often covered with a delicate tracery of design made by the combination of small figures in harmonizing shades, although a few of the blankets have
bolder designs in more contrasting colors. Most of them present a splendid diamond medallion of concentric design in the center while the border develops delicate patterns usually minute geometric motives. San Miguel blankets differ from the Saltillo in having a rosette medallion. The colors are fast and while brilliant are harmonious in their combinations. Some of the blankets are red in tone with the designs carried out in shades of green, blue and yellow, while other very beautiful specimens consist of two or three shades of blue in combination with white only or with white and brown.
Although not so prized as the finest Navajo nor at present carrying so high a money value, some of these blankets have a beauty of color and design which makes them rival the work of Persia and India. In fact they are among the finest examples of weaving to be found in any country or in any age and should be compared with fine old mummy cloths and other preColumbian textiles of Peru.
Small section of a beautiful serape of finest wool, thin and of light weight. The design
is woven in two shades of indigo, with white, brown and black
SINCE the last issue of the JOURNAL the following persons have been elected to membership in the Museum:
Life Members, MRS. CHARLES L. BERNHEIMER, MRS. CLEVELAND H. DODGE, MRS. D. WILLIS JAMES, MISS D. GREER, MISS CAROLINE CONSTANTIA WARD, MISS ALICE DELANO WEEKS, and MESSRS. SAM. SLOAN AUCHINCLOSS, S. A. GOLDSCHMIDT, GEORGE GORDON KING, A. M. POST MITCHELL, WILLIAM H. MOORE, ROBERT ROGERS, C. RITCHIE SIMPKINS, ROBERT E. TOD, and ELMORE A. WILLETS;
Sustaining Members, MESSRS. HOWARD HUNTINGTON, Samuel KRAUS, JACOB W. MACK and ALFRED NATHAN;
Annual Members, MR. and MRS. EDWARD T. H. TALMAGE, MR. and MRS. CHAS. GOUVERNEUR WEIR, MRS. JAMES HOYT BENEDICT, MRS. JACOB S. BERNHEIMER, MRS. VIRGINIA DANZIGER, MRS. SIMON FLEXNER, MRS. THEO. A. KOHN, MRS. H. A. MAYHON, MRS. HENRY S. REDMOND, MRS. C. F. STREET, MRS. LIONEL SUTRO, MRS. EZRA RIPLEY THAYER, MRS. E. VAN RAALTE, MRS. JOHN I. WATERBURY, MISS JESSIE M. BRINKLEY, MISS ANNA E. CHAIRES, MISS HELEN SEARS, the MISSES SCOFIELD, REV. ISAAC S. MOSES, and MESSRS. HERMAN BEHR, WM. M. BENJAMIN, MAX E. BERNHEIMER, SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL, ALEXANDER DEUTSCH, LUDWIG DREYFUSS, J. M. ELLSWORTH, ABRAHAM ERLANGER, KAUFMAN GEORGE FALK, MOSES J. FREUND, WM. TOD HELMUTH, JR., MORRIS J. HIRSCH, B. KAUFMANN, JULIUS KAUFMANN, SAMUEL KNOPF, EPHRAIM B. LEVY, JULIUS A. LEWISOHN, C. M. LOEB, J. LOEB, ROBERT H. MAINZER, SAMUEL MATHER, OSCAR MICHAEL, SIMON MILLER, THEO. OBERMEYER, J. OPPENHEIM, MYRON H. OPPENHEIM, Z. H. OPPENHEIMER, HOWARD PALMER, WM. ROSS PROCTOR, K. J. RAHLSON, JOHN D. REYNOLDS, ISAAC L. RICE, ISAAC RIEGELMAN, SIMON R. RIEM, HUBERT E. ROGERS, SOL. G. ROSENBAUM, ALFRED S. ROSSIN, FRED. SAUTER, JR., J. LOUIS SCHAEFER, W. SCHALL, JR., ARTHUR L. SELIG, ALBERT J. SELIGSBERG, FRANCIS SMYTH, LEO STEIN, NATHAN B. STERN, THEODORE STERNFELD, SYLVAN L. STIX, CHARLES STRAUSS, JOSEPH STROOCK, BENJAMIN TUSKA, DONALD SEYMOUR TUTTLE, B. ULMANN, L. A. VAN PRAAG, JOHN L. WILKIE and BRONSON WINTHROP. DR. FREDERIC A. LUCAS was made Corresponding Member of the Zoological Society of London at its meeting of December 20.
MRS. ISABELLE FIELD JUDSON has succeeded to the patronship of the late Cyrus W. Field and Mr. Charles S. Shepard to the patronship of the late Edward M. Shepard.
DR. WALTER B. JAMES has been elected patron of the Museum in recognition of his contributions for the preparation of marine groups in the department of invertebrate zoology.
THE AMERICAN MUSEUM JOURNAL
PROFESSOR GEORGE GRANT MACCURDY of Yale University spent part of the past month in the classification of the Museum's collections from prehistoric Europe. An exhibit of this material is being arranged in the tower room of the North American archæological hall, second floor west.
A SERIES of models of bacteria is under preparation by the department of public health. They will illustrate recent discoveries in the structure of these minute organisms, including all the more important bacterial enemies of man, such as the tubercle bacillus, the typhoid bacillus, the plague bacillus, and the spirillum of cholera, with killed and preserved colonies showing actual growth.
The collection of living bacterial cultures has grown rapidly during the year. There are under cultivation 479 cultures, representing 322 different types, and forming what is probably the most complete collection of bacteria in existence, with the single exception of the Kral collection at Vienna. Also 577 cultures have been sent out from the laboratory to fifty-three different institutions in the United States and Canada, representing a somewhat unique service to American bacteriological teaching and research.
MR. N. C. NELSON, instructor in anthropology in the University of California, has been appointed assistant curator in the department of anthropology. His best-known work has been the exploration of shell mounds on the California coast.. He will assume his duties here next June and will give especial attention to North American archæology.
MR. GEORGE BORUP, who was in charge of the third supporting party of Admiral Peary in his last polar expedition, has been appointed assistant. curator in the department of geology and invertebrate palæontology.
THE ORIZABA HABITAT GROUP, which it is hoped will be completed in January, promises to be one of the most attractive in the series of bird groups thus far made. It differs from the preceding groups in attempting to present an impression of the faunal character of the region it represents, rather than the home life of some particular species or colonial gathering of birds. The foreground therefore will contain characteristic species of birds of eastern tropical Mexico, while the background, with its view of snow-crowned Orizaba, is designed to give an impressive lesson in the distribution of life as controlled by altitude. This feature will be explained by a series of photographic transparencies introduced in the panels on either side of the group, and portraying the characteristic vegetation from the tropical forests at the base of Orizaba, through the oaks of the temperate zone and the conifers of the Canadian zone, to its treeless