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Powhatan Pottery

First let us look over the material from the Virginia tidewater area. Everywhere here from the southern boundary of Virginia by actual observation, north-ward even through the Delaware valley, the pot-sherds are almost identical in material, decoration and color. Holmes has appropriately called the ceramics of the tidewater “the Algonquian type.” On the Pamunkey, Mattaponi, Rappahannock, James, and Chickahominy rivers it is all the same, the rims, decorations, and ingredients being practically uniform within a certain range of variation.

Yuchi Pottery

The sedentary life of the Yuchi has given ample opportunity for the development of the art of making pottery. The coiled process is in vogue, but it may be remarked that the modern pots of these Indians are of a rather crude and unfinished form, which is probably traceable to deterioration in later years. The process of manufacture of ordinary pots for domestic use is as follows. A fine consistent clay is selected and washed in a flat vessel to separate all grit and stones from it. Then lumps are rolled between the palms and elongated in the form of sticks. A flat piece, the size of the bottom of the desired pot, is made and the lengths or sticks of rolled clay are coiled around on this base and so built up until the proper height and form is obtained. Whatever decorations are to be added are now either produced by incision with a sharp stick or by impression with a stick or shell. The whole surface is afterwards scraped with a fresh-water mussel shell, ctangané (Fig. 7), until the outside of the pot is smooth, and then, with the back of the shell, the scraped surface is rubbed to varying degrees of polish, or the hand may be used to give a dull lustre to the surface. The surface is moistened after the clay is dry and then rubbed until it assumes a fairly permanent polish. The pot is next allowed to dry for a few days out of the sunshine. Then it is baked near a fire. When several pots are being baked they are arranged...

Choctaw Pottery

The Choctaw have a strange superstitious belief in connection with the making of pottery. They say that no person except the one who is making the object should see it until after it has been removed from the fire. If another person chances to look on an object while it is being made or before it is burned, the Choctaw believe that it will crack as soon as placed near the fire. Pottery bowls are no longer made, although they are remembered by the living Indians, who recall having seen bowls provided with three small feet; consequently bowls must have been in use only a short time ago Pipes (ashun’kwa) are still made and used by the Choctaw. Two specimens fashioned by Ahojeobe (Emil John), plate 13, are shown in plate 14. These are made of a white clay that outcrops in certain places beneath the superstratum of yellow clay and sand along the banks of the bayous. There is no tempering of sand or pulverized shell, only the clay being used. The clay is moistened and kneaded until the mass is uniformly damp throughout. The pipe is then modeled and allowed to dry. The incised decoration is added before the pipe is burned in a bed of hot ashes and glowing coals. When thoroughly burned it turns rather dark An color, whereupon it is removed from the fire and immediately immersed in a bowl of grease, which is absorbed by the clay and carbonized by the intense heat. This process causes the pottery to turn black and also adds a certain luster to the surface. Herein probably is...

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