Indians & Cultural Encounters
Carving in stone and wood was also a popular art form. Some of these carvings were done on items, such as cups, which had functional uses; others had ceremonial uses.
Artists shaped stone by flaking off large sections of the rock with a harder stone. They also used a pointed deer antler to press into the rock for more delicate work. Indians used a variety of stone for their carvings including flint, sandstone, limestone, and marble.
Ceremonial objects included pipes and effigies , and small reproductions of other objects, like war clubs or swords. Indians also produced stone discs that were engraved with geometric shapes. Some had line drawings and pigments on them, suggesting that they may have been painted.
With the increase of European trade, metal tools replaced stone ones for carving in stone. Other types of practical carved artifacts include drinking cups and dippers, which were often made from shell, and gorgets .
Indians also created wood carvings, such as statues and masks. Artists painted many of these wood carvings. They also sometimes inlaid them with shells. Indians used the masks in ceremonies. They also used them in dances to symbolize spirits or animals.
archaeologists have found wood statues with Indian burials. These statues are of realistic human and animal figures, often in action poses. The statues probably represented ceremonial figures or animals that represented events in the leader’s or warrior’s life.
- Drawing showing “Native Americans making Canoes.” The image features two men in the foreground tending a fire in the middle of the canoe that they are carving. Others are shown in the background near a fallen tree and another fire. Originally drawn by John Whyte this picture was included in the book A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia by Thomas Hariot. Later the image was engraved by Theodor de Bry and reprinted in 1590. De Bry wanted to make Native Americans look more like Europeans, so he drew them with blonde hair and white skin. Although the drawing is not entirely accurate, it demonstrates how some Europeans did not understand or appreciate the ways in which Native Americans were different from them. The Indians pictured belong to the Southern Algonquian group of Indians, who are related to the Shawnee. North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina.
- Drawing of a Native American idol. The idol Kiwasa, is carved out of wood, and is shown squatting in small hut wearing a long sleeved shirt, beads, skirt, boots, and hat. Kiwasa was the keeper of the ruler’s dead corpses. Originally drawn by John Whyte this picture was included in the book A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia by Thomas Hariot. Later the image was engraved by Theodor de Bry and reprinted in 1590. North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina.
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