Native Indian Art and Native American Artists
Early Native Indian artists created stone and wood sculptures and mural painting. Over 800 years ago Pueblo artists painted with tempera on woven cotton fabric. Texcocan artist Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl (1580 - 1648) painted with ink and watercolor on paper in the late 16th century. Traditional Indian painting was usually flat, highly colorful, and two-dimensional.
Native American Art - Men and Women Artists
The artistic activity of Native American artists was generally divided into two, separate, gender-related categories. The geometric, decorative designs found in most forms of craft work were created by women whereas life forms and records of events were created by men. Paintings on tepees often depicted the earthly world and the spiritual world with paintings of animals and celestial symbols.
Native Indian Art - Beadwork
Beadwork, using glass beads, has been in use for almost five centuries in the North America. The glass beads were imported from Europe and Asia. Often the artwork created using beads included lines of beads which were stitched to emphasize the imagery. Iroquois tribe are well known for "embossed" beading in which strings pulled taunt force beads to pop up from the surface, which create a bas-relief.
Native Indian Art - Wampum
The most famous Native bead incorporating intricate beadwork is wampum. a cylindrical tube of quahog or whelk shell. Both shells produce white beads, but only parts of the quahog produce purple. The most famous Native bead is wampum, a cylindrical tube of quahog or whelk shell which produce white and purple beads. Wampum are traditional, sacred shell beads of Eastern Woodlands tribes used for currency, recording special events and marking exchanges for engagement, marriage, and betrothal agreements.
Picture of a Wampum Belt
Native American Art - Pictograms and Picture Drawings
Many of the Native American Indian tribes did not use an alphabet but they conveyed their ideas in basic pictures of visible objects which they engraved as art work upon smooth stones, the bark of trees, and drew on the skins of animals which the Native American Indian made into their clothes and tepees.
Native American Art - Men and Women
The artistic activity of Native American Indian artists was usually divided into two, separate, gender-related tasks. The geometric, decorative designs found in most forms of craft work were created by women whereas life forms and records of events were created by men.
Native American Art - Dighton Rock Inscription
The famous Dighton Rock Inscription conveys a record of an ancient battle between two Indian tribes which are carved in symbols on a large 40 ton stone which was found in in the riverbed of the Taunton River at Berkley, Massachusetts. Dighton rock is noted for its petroglyphs which are ancient carved designs and symbols.
Native American Art - Petroglyphs
Petroglyphs are a form of Rock Art. Petroglyphs are drawings or carvings often found on the surface of rocks or caves which were created by past civilisations of Native American Indians. Petroglyphs consist of a design, motif, pattern or symbols engraved on stone. Petroglyphs are created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading.
Native American Art - Pictographs
Rock Art - Petroglyphs should not be confused with pictographs, which are images drawn or painted on a rock face. The term 'pictograph' is derived from the Latin word 'pictus', past participle of 'pingere', meaning to paint. Pictographs consist of pictures, or picture-like symbols and art work, that tell a story or represent an idea or used to express an artistic or religious meaning.
Native American Art - Rock Hieroglyphics
Rock Art - Hieroglyphics are an ancient system of writing which uses pictures or pictorial symbols to convey concepts and ideas. The word Hieroglyphic is of Greek origin, meaning holy carvings or "sacred carved sign." The term 'Rock Hieroglyphics' are sometimes used in reference to rock carvings and symbols including the Dighton Rock inscription believed to have been carved in Native American symbols.
Native American Art - Picture Writing
Picture Writing is a broad term that covers any writing system and art work that uses pictographs and symbols. Picture writing is a a system of artistic communication and artistic expression using pictures or symbolic figures which was used by the American Indians.
Native American Art - Ledger Book Drawings
Ledger Book drawings were the result of paper being introduced to the Native American Indians by the Europeans. Traditionally, picture drawings, paintings and art symbols were crafted on the hides of animals, on tepees and clothing. When Native Americans were sent to reservations or incarcerated in the late 1800's they were provided with paper and pencils and encouraged to draw and many were fine artists. Ledger books, originally used by Trading Companies to keep their accounts, were given to Native Indians artists who produced Ledger Book drawings which illustrated examples of Native American art.
Cheyenne Ledger Book Drawing
Native American Art - Tree Pictures
American Indian Symbols were carved into trees by Native American Indians in the form of tree picture art. Trees were permanent natural structures and an ideal 'canvas' for Native Indian artists and shamans who wanted to record events that were important to their history and could be seen via this unique art form by later generations.
American Indian Art - Jewelry
The Native Indians of North America created jewelry and adornments from a variety of animal teeth, animal claws, shells, bones, hide, vegetal fibres, woods, precious and semi-precious gemstones. Many were adept at beadwork and quillwork to create jewellery. Beads were made from turquoise, coral, and shell. Different types of Native American jewelry included chokers, armbands, breastplates, pins, earrings, and necklaces. Metal jewelry came to the indigenous population of North America via European and Mexican metal smiths. Copper, initially traded from tribes near the Coppermine River, which runs in regions of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada, was worked into jewelry before European contact. The Europeans then introduced the art of the silver smith and gold smith to Northeast America in the mid-17th century.
Native Indian Art and Crafts
The art and craft related articles include the skills acquired together with pictures and photographs of baskets and art work, pottery and art work and beadwork art.
American Indian Art - Designs
Native American designs provide pictures and images of the art and designs used in creating various items by skilled Native Indians.