Sculpture (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: Sculpture, whether in wood, pottery, stone, or—in more recent times—various metals, has been an important part of American Indian cultural expression
Native American sculpture represents a deep belief in rhythm, balance, and symmetry. For example, arrow and tool points from some twelve thousand years ago demonstrate admirable craftsmanship and a blending of form and function. Modern Native American sculptors embrace tradition, spiritual legends, and naturalistic symbols, combining these ideas with their own emotion to join feeling and design.
In the Hohokam culture (dating between 700 and 900 c.e.), carved bone objects were used for body ornamentations such as hairpins and armbands; designs included geometrics, birds, and animals. Clay figures decorated jars, and petroglyphs were distributed throughout the Southwest. The subject matter of the petroglyphs is fairly consistent: curvilinear patterns, geometric designs, and numerous life forms. Humans often appear sitting or standing, playing the flute, throwing a spear, or dancing in groups.
Skills in sculpture were passed down through the generations. As new materials became available and new techniques developed, each generation contributed interpretations and innovations. Regardless of their background, most contemporary Indian sculptors take pride in their ancestry and turn to traditional culture for inspiration. One problem that arises from...
(The entire section is 336 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!