Native American Art

Native Americans weaved their art into the everyday items they created. They expressed their art through the patterns and designs they made on clothes, rugs, pottery, blankets and other items. Painting was another form of art although it was more commonly practiced by the spiritual leaders of a tribe.

Native American Pottery

Pottery was an important form of art among the Native American tribes. It also served a very practical purpose. Although the pottery items were made for everyday usage, they were often adorned with symbols of plants, animals and other objects.

These symbols, designs and other aspects of the decorations varied from one tribe to another. To make pottery, the Native Americans used a spinning wheel quite similar to the way it is used today for making clay pottery.

Native American Clothes

Clothes and other items of textiles were a popular form of Native American art. These include items such as blankets, rugs, dresses and cloaks.

The Native Americans used a variety of materials such as dyes, hair locks, furs, beads, feathers and other coloring techniques to adorn a piece of cloth. The designs varied from one tribe to another.

The Nez Perce, for instance, were famous for their colorful and creative dresses. The Navajo were known for weaving excellent blankets with unique geometric patterns.

The rugs and cloaks were similarly decorated with art. Art was used to express not just the creativity but also the culture and history of a tribe as well as the status and achievements of an individual.

Native American Baskets

Native Americans used a variety of colors and materials to create stunning baskets. These baskets were used to carry and store various items such as vegetables.

They were typically made by the women of a tribe who would spend a lot of time on them. The materials used in making these baskets included cornhusks and reeds.

The baskets featured unique designs and were made colorful by using various dyes. The art on a basket also often depicted important historic events such as a battle.

Native American Totem Poles

Totem poles were a popular and culturally significant form of Native American art. Totem poles were famously erected by the Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

These tribes would erect a wooden trunk adorned with the faces of different animals. These faces were expertly carved into the wood and decorated with different colors.

The totem poles served different purposes. They were used as a dedication and offering to the gods. They were also considered a sign of the prestige, wealth and status of a family.

Native American Sand paintings

Sand paintings were a form of art practiced by the Navajo tribe. These paintings were made by the Navajo tribe as a part of the healing ceremony.

They believed that the painting allowed them to communicate with the spirits who would facilitate a sick person’s healing and recovery. So the paintings served a practical and spiritual purpose.

Since they were made from sand, they could not be stored and were destroyed once the healing ceremony was over.

Native American Art Resources for Further Education:

Native North American Art (Oxford History of Art) Paperback – 17 Sept 1998

Design Source Book 24: Native American Designs (Design Source Books)

Native American Artwork and Designs Adult Coloring Book: A Coloring Book for Adults inspired by Native American Indian Styles and Cultures: owls, … Volume 9 (Around the World Coloring Books) Paperback – 8 Oct 2016