Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


A ceremonial feast in which the conspicuous consumption of food played a major part. Practised among coastal communities on the northwest coast of North America from perhaps 3500 bc down to historic times, the potlatch was in effect a redistribution system for large accumulated surpluses of foodstuffs in which a few wealthy and powerful individuals controlled the redistribution as a way of gaining prestige.

Subjects: Arts and Humanities.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.