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Feather Work

By William T. Brigham

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Book Id: WPLBN0002096805
Format Type: Default
File Size: 2 MB
Reproduction Date: 7/6/2011

Title: Feather Work  
Author: William T. Brigham
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, History of the Americas (Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, etc.), Hawaiian History
Collections: Education, Ophthalmology, Authors Community, Sociobiology, Agriculture, Biology, Fine Arts, Sociology, Military Science, Literature, Naval Science, Social Sciences, Most Popular Books in China, Law, History
Publication Date:
Publisher: Bishop Museum Press
Member Page: Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center


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Brigham, W. T. (1899). Feather Work. Retrieved from

The love of personal decoration appears very early in the history of the human race. When the fierce struggle for existence and the pursuit of food and shelter allowed time for the consideration of family, the keen hunters must have learned many a lesson from the beasts of the field and forest,—not less from the birds of the air, of the processes of Nature which Mr. Darwin has called sexual selection. That any savage ever reasons out these processes cannot be believed, but the sharp eye trained in daily hunts could not be blind to the patent fact that so many birds have plumage evidently intended for attractive decoration, and that it answers this purpose. Savage man at first put on the adornments in which he saw the male of so many birds and beasts was resplendent, and not until many ages after was the woman allowed to appropriate to her own use what in early tribal life was the exclusive property of the male.

The lion's mane, the tiger's skin, the eagle's feather were man's earliest adornment, and it is not improbable that woman in humble emulation of her lord made for herself clusters and bands of flowers or fruits, while the dwellers on the ocean shores soon took the sea-shells cast on the sandy beach. The warrior of the far North has the eagle and hawk from which to borrow, and the ancient war dress of a Mandan chief was decorated with spoil of these and other birds; but in the warmer regions of the earth, where Nature puts forth all her powers, and birds and insects vie in coloring with the most brilliant flowers, uncivilized man has wantoned in the prodigality and fashioned for himself a gorgeous decoration taken from the captives of his bow, net, or blow-gun.


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