A concise, colourful introduction to the fascinating world of Native North American warfare and ritual.
For thousands of years, Plains Indians and their ancestors have occupied the vast region that stretches from the Mississippi river to the Rocky Mountains and from the Canadian plains to the Gulf of Mexico. From about 1800 one of the most important units, beyond the extended family was the ‘warrior society’ – a social, political and ritual group that engaged in warfare and organised ceremonial life. The societies offered members the opportunity to gain honours through individual acts of bravery such stealing horses, capturing women, and taking scalps during war raids but also had rich spiritual lives, marked by a strong sense of ritual.
Through a selection of unique objects from the British Museum’s collection, this beautifully illustrated little book explores the world of the warriors of the North American Plains. Here are exceptional examples of feather headdresses, shields, moccasins, painted hides, scalps, pipes, tomahawks, and traditional and contemporary costumes. Many of these items may seem initially familiar from popular culture, but their deeper ritual significance is revealed by the author. A perennially popular subject, this book will appeal to young and old alike.
The author Max Carocci has been conducting research on Plains Indians since 1989. He curated the 2010 British Museum exhibition ‘Warriors of the Plains: 200 Years of Native North American Honour and Ritual’, on which this book is based. The exhibition is now touring to UK venues.