Native American Art Design

Great Lake Tribes
The artists of the Great Lakes used natural objects as models for their artwork. Flowers, leaves, and stems were stitched onto bags and clothing. The Chippewa designed flowing flowers. The Winnebago embroidered simpler symmetrical floral patterns.

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Common symbols used in Pueblo art were birds, butterflies, bear claws, snakes, lizards, spiders, clouds, whirlwinds, and rainbows. Symbols that represented the four directions were also used. These designs were used to decorate coiled pottery. Weaving and baskets were also done with these designs. Over 300 Kachina designs were used in the Pueblo artwork. Each Kachina represented a spirit.

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Inuit artists created simple animals, birds, and scenes of daily life and travel. These were often appliquéd to caribou and sealskin. Stone sculptures of animals such as the wolf, polar bear, birds, reindeer, and walrus were also common.

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Northwest Coastal Tribes
The Northwest Indians believed that each of their clans were closely related to a particular animal. Common animals were the raven, thunderbird, eagle, wolf, killer whale, and bear. These animals were used as designs for many objects. The designs were sometimes flattened or bent to the shape of the object it was being placed on. Parts of the animals were drawn in squared ovals and solid, curved u-shaped sections.

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The artists of the Plains used buffalo hides for their artwork. The hides were made into clothing, houses, beds, shields, belts, moccasins, and folded envelopes used for storage called parfleches. These objects were painted or beaded in geometric patterns. Stripes, diamonds, crosses, arrows, hour-glass shapes, thunderbirds, stars and hunting scenes were often used.

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