April 30, 2011 on 1:54 am
Native American rattles in music have always been an intrinsic part of American Indian culture. Along with drums, they are prominently featured. Far more than simply a noise maker, the rattle has deep significance. Rattles help to keep the rhythm of the dance, and the noise touches the inner person. A variety of materials are used to make these rattles, and tribal differences make themselves known here. Gourds are the material most often associated with Native American rattles, but the range goes much further than that. California tribes use turtle shells, while Plains Indians make use of rawhide rattles. The Indians of the Southwest make their rattles of pottery, rawhide, or gourds.
The three spiritual kingdoms are signified in Native American rattles. A wooden handle or a gourd symbolizes the plant world. Animals are represented if the rattle is made of hide, or by feathers used to decorate the rattle. The mineral world is represented by the small stones used inside the rattle as the percussive element. The power drawn from the three kingdoms is transmitted when the rattle is shaken. Dancers shake rattles when performing as rattles are used in almost all Native ceremonies today.
Drawn from the natural world, Native Americans show symbolism and meaning in the construction of their rattles. It freely flows into the ceremonials and dances so important to Native American culture. Individuals use rattles for meditation as well as ceremonial use. Tension and stress can be released by listening to the soothing sound of the rattle.
Native American rattles are available in a wide range of styles today. The finest ones are made by Indian artists, who draw upon their cultural knowledge to produce a beautiful and meaningful rattle. A plain rattle can be enhanced by being decorated in a variety of ways. Rattles are often decorated with feathers and fur. With visions of the natural world, many rattles are painted in traditional Indian geometric patterns. Many times, painted rattles feature the animal world. Sometimes also used in the design is traditional Indian bead work. Rattles made by Native American artists incorporate traditional items into the rattle for the sound. Items included inside a rattle such as corn, clay beads, small pebbles and seeds, all produce a calming and pleasing sound.
An Indian rattle of the Native American culture, can bring a bit of the spiritual serenity into your home. Many people find that a collection of Indian rattles adds a new dimension to their home decor. A display of rattles on the wall will brighten any room. You will undoubtedly find that your mind is refreshed and cleared by the sound produced when you use a rattle for personal meditation.
April 16, 2011 on 2:28 am
The potter’s wheel was never used to produce Native American pottery by the tribal people before the coming of Europeans. Pottery was made, and is still made, using the coil method. It takes a real artist to build a pot in this way, from the bottom up. The coils are first attached to the flattened base, and meticulously smoothed. As more coils are added and smoothed, the pot begins to take shape. An expert artisan will produce a pot that is not only completely smooth, but that has walls of an even thickness. This gives the pot strength.
While every Native American tribe produced coil pottery, the most famous is that produced by the Southwest Indians. Some of the most easily recognized pottery pieces may be from the Navajo, Acoma and Hopi tribes. To help account for the distinctive look this pottery offers, geometric or stylized designs are used. A very interesting fact is that Native American pottery traditionally is made without the use of a kiln. After the pots are placed in a pit, a thick layer of sticks and brush are put on top. This is ignited, and the resulting fire will harden the pottery just as if it had been in kiln. After firing, the burnished pottery is often polished with a smooth river stone.
Native American pottery can be decorated with bold and beautiful designs. Some of the designs are etched right into the wet clay with a variety of hand tools. The patterns can vary from geometric patterns to patterns of animals and birds. Represented on the pottery are things such as eagles, turtles and cattle. On some pieces of pottery, floral patterns are found as well.
Horsehair is a very unique and interesting form of Indian pottery. To make this style, horsehair, feathers, seeds, grass stems, and other natural items are placed on the pot when it is still hot. Almost abstract designs are formed in this way, and pots where red clay has been used are especially attractive. Legend has it that the long hair of a native potter brushed by accident against a hot piece of pottery. It became a style of its own because the resultant design was so pleasing.
In almost any home, Native American pottery can make an artistic and decorating statement. The earthy color tones will offer a unique touch and theme. A home decorated in the Southwest style is the perfect spot for this type of pottery. A ranch house, cabin or any rustic dwelling, can home Indian pottery with great success. Just by adding a unique piece of this pottery to your decor, it will add a bit of Native American culture.
April 8, 2011 on 6:52 pm
Nearly everyone is aware of Native American pipes once used to promote peace. It has been celebrated in story and song. However, there are many different types of Native American pipes. Specific pipes were used for different ceremonies. Indian pipes were made to augment religious or spiritual ceremonies as well as to welcome visitors to the tribe or cement peaceful living. Today, pipes are also made for individual use, although these are often of a simpler design than the others.
Although the peace pipe is well known, it is not the only Native American pipe. For centuries, pipes have been used by the indigenous people of North and Central America. A variety of styles and purposes have emerged over the course of years. Long stemmed pipes have been made over time, including today, by the Plains Indians. The wooden hollowed stem is attached to a pipe stone bowl. This valuable stone is found in Minnesota, but eventually spread throughout most of the continent through trade.
Animals have always played a large part in the personal and spiritual life of Native Americans. The affinity to nature is shown in the effigy or animal pipe. This type of pipe is carved in a manner that an animal is carved right into the actual bowl. Shamans often use pipes adorned with an animal fetish during their ceremonies. As befits their inclusion in important rituals, Native American pipes of this type are normally large. The animal carved into the pipe’s bowl will usually represent the spirit guide of the shaman conducting the ceremony.
The Plains pipe is another type of Native American pipe. This pipe was often found among the Sioux tribes. The Plains pipe was used both for ceremonies and as a personal item. Often, when men gathered together, the Plains pipe was fired up and passed around. Etiquette has been strictly followed with this and other pipes as well. The Plains pipe has always played a large part in the sweat lodge ceremony. This ceremony is considered to be so sacred that the entire ceremony has never been shown to non Native American people.
The long cultural tradition of the Native American pipe is still being carried on today. Pipes in many styles and sizes are created by skilled and dedicated Indian craftsmen. Some pipes perhaps, are quite simple in design, with only a small amount of bead work. Others are very elaborate with feathers, bones, and horsehair in addition to beads. Indian artists make pipes out of stone, wood and antlers. Your home will take on a natural touch by adding a pipe or two. Displayed singly on a stand or as a collection, Native American pipes will help to bring the essence of the Great Plains into your living room. Any cabin, home, or ranch decorated in a southwest theme can be touched by the spirit of the Indian with the addition of one or more of these unique pipes.
April 4, 2011 on 8:21 pm
Whether in a primeval setting in the forest or on the plains, the Native American knife is a useful and decorative object. Originally, the Indians carried knives made of flint. This stone was able to be manipulated sufficiently to produce a sharp edge. Hunting, skinning, and even whittling and carving could all be performed by the use of a flint knife. And yes, rumor says scalping was done as well. With the coming of the Europeans, however, the metal knife was introduced. Soon the flint instrument was abandoned, and the tribes managed to create Native American knives in a style of their own.
Besides the knives used for the usual tasks, Native Americans were renowned for their skill with the throwing knife. It was primarily used during battles and became known as a much feared weapon. Although the first throwing knives were flint, they were deadly and accurate. The introduction of the metal knife only made it easier for warriors to use these weapons.
The art of Native American knives has continued to flourish even as war has been left behind. The knives crafted today by Native American artists are of the highest quality. They are often exceedingly decorative as well as beautiful and create interesting collectibles. As each tribe will have its own style, collections can be built around those knives produced by a single tribe. Many collectors will want to collect Native American knives from a range of tribes. Collections can also focus on the work of a single artist.
There are Native American knives available with a stainless steel blade that have beautifully inlaid handles. Ivory, turquoise, and silver are commonly used for the inlays. However, a real feel for the indigenous American can be had with knives created in the old way. There are knives available, which hearken back to the free living spirits of long ago, made by Indian artists. It may be possible to find a knife with an obsidian blade with a handle of elk horn. Another element that has been used is the bone of a deer offered to history through the Cherokee nation.
The Native American knives made today are of the highest quality and will make wonderful collectibles and display items. These knives may be adorned with feathers, fur, beads, and leather which makes them unique and individual. Any home decorated in a southwest or western style will benefit from a collection of Native American knives. Such is their artistic quality that they could even be appropriate as a display in an ultra modern setting.