Just a couple quick thoughts to follow up on the last post and to tag along with the "shirt" section on the general clothing article on the main site...

 I believe I successfully argue that check shirts are a defining article of Southeastern fashion, which developed in the mid-1750's.  In short, check linen shirts grew in popularity.  While seen only on occaision in 1754, by 1758 they were the most common shirt material seen in the SE.  White linen shirts were the most common in 1754 and quickly took the back seat by '58. 

 We have plenty of references to shirts being adourned with silver buckles (ring broaches) and being worn until they are nearly rotting off of the owner's body.  Adair tells us Indian men wore their shirts until they were filthy.  Another author states the shirts were so filthy that they were nearly black.  This is likely the story for both white linen and checked linen shirts... they got filthy. 

But there is a shirt decorating technique which does not appear to have been practiced in the Southeast, and was apparently a Northeastern style: painting the shoulders red.  There are a number of references to the shoulders of white shirts being painted with vermillion.  We could speculate all day long about why it was done.  But it certainly was done in the Northeast

Painting the shoulders of a trade shirt red seems to not have been in fashion in the SE.  To my knowledge, there is not a single reference to Indian shirts with red painted shoulders in the South.  This is very likely just another way that Northeastern and Southeastern peoples could tell each other apart.  I would highly suggest that until such time as we can produce evidence for the practice, that interpreters of Southeastern cultures avoid the application of red pigment to the shoulders of their shirts... let them get dirty naturally. It won't take too long!

Up next will either be a full blown post about the lack of quilled items in the Southeastern or a rant against bad metallic ornaments like gorget style nose rings, brass armbands, ear wheels, elaborate pattern broaches... BS trade guns with 42" barrels... or all the above.  ;)
Mason gray
11/10/2015 06:42:01 am

I work in a native village in oklahoma "we're all enrolled Cherokees" and we always where told by elders that it was bad for us to wear colored shifer shirts because that's what our enemies wore, the Iroquois. But I heard of us painting our shirts yellow


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    J Melius

    If you found yourself here, you are more than likely aware of my passion for researching Southeastern American Indian material culture.  Its a sickness I've been wrapped up in since the early 1990's.  While some of my thoughts might come across as somewhat abrassive; they are not meant to offend.  No, I dont call myself and expert, only a student of history and culture.  Hopefully we all seek to further our education and this is intended as an extention of my unending desire to learn and share.


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