Native American Pottery
It is very difficult to assign a one size fits all description or philosophy to any Native American artwork. This by no means should diminish the incredible beauty of what has become known as Native American pottery in all of its forms. Each tribe contributing something beautiful and unique to the appearance of the pottery and yet all working well together under one umbrella, though I am quite certain that wasn't the intention at the time.
The pottery of tribes from the Southwestern United States is probably the most famous. Part of this is that there are more pieces that are actually preserved from these tribes as well as the fact that they had rather unique firing methods and distinctive design elements in their pottery. This style of pottery is also well loved for the vibrant colors that are often used in its making. It is very beautiful and very distinctive of this particular region.
The important thing to remember when it comes to Native American pottery is that it was purposeful in addition to being beautiful. These were vessels that were used to store food for the winter in more settled Native American societies. Pottery was a little more difficult to transport by those tribes that were nomadic by nature and much of the original pottery of various tribes was lost during forced relocations to various reservations across the country. This was yet another dark period in the history of the United States.
Most Native American pottery was extremely practical though it should not be discounted as simple or even visually displeasing. Many of these pieces are stunningly beautiful and complicated designs that show real talent by the hands that created them. Bright colors were often used in the making of these pieces though there is no hard and set rule. Some of them were completely black and fired in a very specific style that also set them apart even among other tribes.
Wedding vases are an example of Southwestern Native American pottery. The vases have two spouts that represent the joining of man and woman into one. The vase is created by the family of the groom prior to the wedding day and given to the couple filled with water that has been blessed by a holy man of the tribe. Drinking the water together, first the wife, then the husband is a symbolic gesture that is meant to solidify the matrimonial bond and publicly declare their trust for one another and anticipation of the future. It is a beautiful tradition and the vessels are simply stunning.
There are many pieces that are still made today. Many of them may not have quite the same value in Native American society but have proven to be a source of income for the various tribes that specialize in pottery making throughout the Southwestern United States.
Well beyond the pottery there are many other priceless, unique, and very interesting pieces of Native American design and craftsmanship that are an excellent example of the rich history and culture of the Native American pieces. If you have the opportunity be sure to check out the paintings and jewelry of Native American design. In addition to all of these there are Navajo blankets, baskets, and many other finely crafted items that are excellent representations of Native American life now and in the past. Fetishes are yet another popular item of the various Southwestern Indian tribes. If you are an avid collector or wish to be there are plenty from which to choose.
Whether your interest in Native American Pottery is purely academic or from the point of view of a definite fan you should be glad to know that there are plenty of websites from which you can purchase Native American pottery if the price is right. Just remember that the historical and cultural significance of these pieces make them well worth the price you will pay and enjoy your pottery.