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Home >> Popular Painting Styles >> Native American Face Paint

Native American Face Paint

Native Americans Face Paint is an important part of the Native American Culture. It is much more than just a beautifying practice. It’s a sacred social act of distinction and a cultural heritage. On special occasions faces of the tribe members are painted to augment one’s appearance and power. Each tribe of the Indians has its own and unique way of face painting. They have different face painting ideas and face painting patterns for different occasion.

Face Painting as an Art Form

In Native American Tribes, Face Painting has been used for artistic expression since ancient times. The art of transforming ourselves with make-up and masks is a universal phenomenon. Before we sought to vent our artistic impulse on a cave wall, we painted on our faces and bodies. Indians of the Amazon have said that in this power to change ourselves we demonstrate our humanity and set ourselves apart from the world of the animals.

Uses of Face Paint in Native American tribes

Face Painting has also been used for many other reasons- for hunting, religious reasons, and military reasons (mainly as a method of camouflaging). The reason we use to transform ourselves may be varied –we may choose to do so as a part of a ritual or we may do so to mark our status (as is the case with some aboriginal tribes), but the language of art will remain the same.

Native American Face Paint – Colors

Roots, berries and tree barks are most commonly used to make the dyes for face painting. These natural raw materials are ground and made to a paste to make the dye. Clay of different hues is also used in Native

Indian face painting

. These wonderful colors along with the ideal face painting designs do create a desired effect.

Native American Face Paint – The Process

A strict ritualistic order is maintained during the application of these colors. The colors are first applied around the nose and only the index finger and middle finger is used for the application. The rest of the face i.e. the forehead, chin and eye areas are then carefully covered with paint.

Significance of the Colors

Colors in Native American culture have special significance. Red is a violent color; it is the color of war. Strangely enough black, which is considered to be an inauspicious colors in most cultures, is the color of ‘living’, worn on the face during war preparations. White predictably is the color of peace. The color green when worn under the eyes is believed to empower the wearer with a night vision. Yellow is the most inauspicious color, it is the color of death, and is worn only when a person is in mourning.

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