Paints and Painting (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: Painting has been a primary American Indian art form for thousands of years and is used for social, historical, and decorative purposes
American Indian painting reaches back to the earliest known inhabitants of the Americas. Some of the earliest paintings are called pictographs, which simply means paintings or drawings on rock. These drawings and paintings were highly symbolic and stylized and can be seen even today in certain areas, especially the Southwest of the United States.
Before the coming of the Europeans, many different forms of painting were in existence. Painting was prevalent in the Plains and East in the form of painting on animal skins and tattooing, in the Northwest Coast on wooden poles and masks, and in the Southwest and Mexico on pottery, rock, and adobe walls. These different forms of painting had primarily religious, decorative, and historical purposes, with the emphasis on content rather than form.
Styles of painting varied among tribes and regions and were based on such factors as tribal experience and available materials. Designs were generally two-dimensional and geometric, or linear, showing simple frontal and profile figures and shapes or geometric patterns. Designs developed as a result of...
(The entire section is 468 words.)
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