Native American Rock Art

Interested in learning about Native American rock art? Read on to explore this unique form of art developed by the Native Americans…

Native American rock art is one of the most unique and intriguing art forms developed in the Native American culture. The Natives would take large rocks to be their canvas and paint on them using different techniques, materials and themes.

Some fine examples of Native American rock art are given below:

The All-American Man

The All-American man is a full sized Puebloan shield figure. This figure is in a ‘grotto’ or cave which has prevented weathering and preserved its original charm and silhouette. In earlier days, as a common archaeology practice, the archeologists outlined rock art with chalk in order to enhance the image in their photographs of olden days. Interestingly enough, on this figure, the neck region and eyes are also enhanced and embellished making it a multicultural art piece. Present day archaeologists have revealed that the blue pigment is indeed charcoal which has aged and changed color over time.

Rochester Creek Panel

This highly embellished Barrier Canyon Style Creek Panel is not similar to the traditional rows of painted human figurines. Instead it is crowded with images of weird creatures but is still considered to be of the Barrier Canyon genre or Archaic in origin. The panel faces east with a rainbow that is four feet in height. Starting from the left there are images of a spider, a snake, two elks, an anthropomorphous figure followed by a foot print. The top is embellished with odd creatures. Analysts believe that the sections represent the evening sky and the Milky Way Galaxy is represented by the rainbow, where as the constellations are represented by the other figures, hence the immense number of figures to complete the image.

Puebloan Handprints

Quite a few of the Puebloan panels, including the All American Man print, include handprints which are incorporated in the art work. It is commonly understood to be the signature of the artist finishing off their work with a palm print. It leaves a timeless imprint making the artist immortal through his work. The most popular and classic panel of the Chaco Canyon 1054 Supernova artwork make this statement loud and clear with the image of a new moon and bright star finished off with a single hand print.

Quite often the Barrier Canyon style figures carry the negative and painted handprints which are from the genre of the Puebloan print. These unique handprints are an artists way of saying ‘I created this’ and a traditional way of signing off artwork.

Fremont Style Warrior

Almost a life size figurine, this anthropomorphous figure comes with a spear and shield in each hand. It hails from the classic Southern San Rafael Style genre. The torso on this huge figure is beautifully textured and the necklace and hair bobs are pecked solid. Interestingly, the partial outline on the neck shows that the figure is incomplete to date thereby making it a unique piece of art.

Newspaper Rock

Ute Art was reminiscent of the time when the Spanish brought back horses to the continent. This panel forms part of the Ute genre but carries some Fremont images also. The figures included in this art piece are a bighorn sheep and deer, along with a large buffalo, beautiful bear foot prints, a symbolic wagon wheel and abstract geometric designs along with beaver pelts.

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