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Native American Art Materials

There are several different styles of Native American Art available on today's market. The large variance between Native American Art style is due to the natural working materials available within each tribes homeland. It is highly likely that each cultures art is a product of their environment. For instance, peoples whom resided in regions that were heavily forested often became talented wood sculptures, while those who were raised in grasslands grew to become master basket weavers and so on and so forth. The Indian have practically explored and truly mastered each and every natural medium that has proven to be a useful resource. Their exploration includes turquoise, jade, stone, shell, metals, birch bark, deer hair, milkweed fibre, porcupine quills, sea lion whiskers, llama dung, clay, grass, and wood. Each one of these natural materials serve a purpose of either texture, color, or durability within these sought after commodities.

See article Native American Design Concepts

The Indian peoples gave life to these natural resource which in fact turned them into commodities themselves. Certain materials were even given a standard value within the economy and readily accepted as a medium of exchange. Several came to desire these materials so much so that they would travel long distances to acquire these "official" commodities in trade. The materials that were deemed as "official" rose greatly in value, largely due to religious purposes. Religious practices called for "official" materials only - a substitute simply would not be tolerated. Thus, the trade of these extremely valuable natural materials grew massively.

See article Native American Art In The Contemporary World

Trade and craft between the Native people and the Western settlers was quite different. As a Western painter designed his art piece he typically imposed his design on the material at hand, tending to be a flat surfaced canvas and the Western sculpture worked in the like, utilizing a predetermined template to impose a shape within his material of choice. While the Native American painter or sculptor was less inclined to force a predetermined design upon their found materials. Instead, the native artist was more likely to adapt design to the natural material at hand utilizing its primitive outline and working it into a organic design. Naturalism is known to be one of the most attractive aspects of Native American Art, demonstrating these peoples remarkable talents - incorporating the natural formed material into design completion.

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