Heritage, Volume 18, Number 2, Spring 2000 Page: 32
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JOHN PETERSON, BOOK REVIEW EDITOR
Borderlands: The Heritage
of the Lower Rio Grande
Valley through the Art of
Edinburg, Hidalgo County Historical Museum,
educational consultant Jane
90th birthday in
April 2000. He
was born into a
humble family in
the Mexican state
of Durango on
the eve of the
"< t ; h Mexican Revolu_
plow tion. By the time
a generous uncle
sent him to
school at the age of 11, Cisneros had taught
himself to read and was ready to absorb
whatever education he could. Economic
hardship had forced his family to move
from place to place, and his classroom was
in El Paso, across the Rio Grande from his
parents. When he was not working to help
defray costs for his tuition, he studied in
the El Paso Public Library under the benevolent
eye of Maud Durlin Sullivan, the
His skill has led him to try his hand in a
variety of artistic forms beside drawing and
painting, including carved statues for
churches, ceramic tiles, stained-glass windows,
and commemorative medallions.
When still a young man his work caught
the attention of Tom Lea and Carl Herzog,
both of whom encouraged him to pursue
his talent. He undertook several creative
commissions and began illustrating books
for the Texas Western Press, and subsequently
for New York publishing houses.
His "day job" in an El Paso paint factory
was threatened when his supervisors
learned of his unexpected disability - he
was color blind! In later years, despite family
tragedy, Cisneros continued to reach for
new goals and reveled in the experience of
two trips to Spain. He was awarded the
Paisano fellowship and spent six peacefully
creative months at the Ranch in Dobie's
former home near Austin.
The book was published by the Hidalgo
County Historical Museum in Edinburg..
Page after page of exquisitely drawn portraits
are filled with a detail acquired
through sympathetic study and understanding.
The first paintings show the Paleo-Indian
hunters of 10,000 years ago and the
15th-century Northern Mexico salt traders
at Sal de Rey Lake around the year
1400. While each painting deserves a good
long look, they blend into a pageant interpreted
by one man whose eye for beauty in
simplicity or glory draw equal artistic respect.
Perhaps the most outstanding characteristics
are the portrayals of individuals
from all walks of life representing their
period in history, the detail accorded to
their dress and the adornments in their
daily life, and the exciting procession of
animals -- horses, buffaloes, and longhorns.
Each painting has an accompanying
text written by museum staff members Tom
Fort and Rachel Freyman. These are very
helpful, for the history of the Borderlands
is not familiar to us all. The biographical
essay on Cisneros is written by Felix D.
Almaraz Jr. who co-authored with Dr.
Hubert Miller the excellent essay on the
Borderlands that prefaces the book.
Clovis Blade Technology
By Michael B. Collins with a chapter by
Marvin Kay, University of Texas Press, 1999
Reviewed by John Peterson, Department of
Anthropology, The University of Texas at El
to many levels of
takes a very esoteric
topic and relates
fr'^'^ ... VIII ^1W
;- A: : r
-,3 : :: 9 -
it to a much broader context, and along
the way provides a primer for students and
Most studies of lithic technology languish
in the gray literature of contract reports
or at best appear as obscure journal
articles. Collins begins with the premise
that his analysis of a cache of Clovis artifacts
is central to the study of paleoindian
settlement in the New World. The elegant
Clovis projectile points found throughout
North America have always attracted attention
and have dominated the discourse
on paleoindian lithic traditions much as
the beautiful black-on-white Mimbres pottery
of Southwest New Mexico commands
the focus of popular publications on
puebloan studies. Focusing on blade technology
is somewhat like reporting on
Mogollon brownware ceramics and making
them interesting and compelling to a
general audience without once showing a
Mimbres design. Collins argues, in fact,
that archaeologists seldom noticed the
blades that appeared in Clovis contexts,
while lavishing attention on the projectile
points and the debris of manufacture.
Collins begins his volume with a review
of "Blades and Blade Technology." His text
is spare of jargon, and this in itself is an
accomplishment in a very technical field.
Where jargon is necessary, he provides clear
discussions and definitions to provide a
HERITAGE * 32 * SPRING 2000
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 18, Number 2, Spring 2000, periodical, Spring 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45390/m1/32/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.