Objects of Exchange
Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast
Imprint: Portal (Art)
- Published: Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011
The late nineteenth century was a period of rapid colonization and dramatic change for the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast of America. Objects of Exchange approaches the material culture of the period as visual evidence of shifting intercultural relations. Drawing on the collection of the American Museum of Natural History-from decorated clothing to containers, ceremonial regalia to trade goods-this book reveals the artistic traces of dynamic indigenous activity whereby objects were altered, repurposed, and adapted to meet the challenges of the time. Rather than treating the period as a climax of “traditional” art and culture, the authors suggest that we view its objects as witnesses to the dawn of an indigenous modernity. This remarkable book includes an intimate family portrait of the renowned Haida artist Charles Edenshaw; a discussion of the use of silver in economic and ceremonial contexts; and an exploration of the ways in which Tlingit women adapted beadwork to crest display as well as the tourist trade.