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Jill L. Furst and Peter T. Furst.

New York, Rizzoli, c1982.
236pp, cloth, $49.00.
ISBN 0-8478-0461-5.

Grades 7 and up.
Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson.

Volume 11 Number 6.
1983 November.

Peter and Jill Furst, staff members in the department of anthropology at the State University of New York, Albany, have collaborated in a coffee-table sized book that acts as a fine introduction to the art of North America's original peoples. The Fursts divided the continent into six areas that are ostensibly representative of the principal environments and life-ways of the indigenous population: the Southwest, California, Northwest Coast, Eskimos (i.e., the Far North), the Plains, and the Eastern Woodlands.

Following a general overview explaining the functional role of art in the social and religious life of the native peoples, the authors, via two-column text and coloured plates of items in private and public collections, briefly discuss the major art forms of an area, such as the dolls, baskets, textiles, sand-painting, jewelry, and pottery of the Southwest. Two-thirds of the book's length consists of 233 plates, which are broken into eight unequal sections. Though repetition sometimes exists between the content of the text and the information accompanying the plates, many illustrations are never referred to within the printed portion. Because of the lack of physical integration of text and illustrations, reading demands an annoying constant flipping of pages to find the plate being described in the body of the work.

Though the price will unfortunately intimidate a few potential purchasers, the beauty of the book's contents could do much to dispel some of the stereotyped images of the continent's native population.

Dave Jenkinson, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.
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