The Native American Pottery

Published on October 26, 2011 by Amy

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Native American Pottery
Native American Pottery

Native American pottery dates as far back as 2,000 years ago. It was then that nomadic Indians began to settle down. They learned to make Native American pottery that varied in shape. The shape was dependent on what purpose the pottery was to serve. Native Americans used pottery to hold water, store grains, and preserve seeds for the next planting season. Also among other examples of Native American pottery were the pots that would sit on open fires for cooking.

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In the beginning, Native American pottery was created for practical uses rather than the artistry of the piece. The pieces were plain and usually unsymmetrical. At some point though, it became important to the Native American Indians to decorate their pots. The white man did not understand many of the designs drawn on Native American pottery and the Indians were reluctant to reveal what the designs meant. But, Indians have always found nature, animals, birds, humans, and gods sacred and used their images when decorating pottery.

Exactly how did Indians discover pottery? It is believed that long ago, the Indians covered their woven baskets with mud clay. Once the baskets were put over the fire, the clay hardened and the Indians realized quite by accident that they could make pots by shaping clay and cooking it over fire. There have even been primitive pots found by archeologists that show texture marks that indicate the pots were made in baskets.

Some people believe that Native American Indians used the potter’s wheel, but this is not true. Indians take pride in slowly creating their Native American pottery by hand by using the methods of coiling and pinching.

Today, Indian pottery can be purchase throughout the central and western states. Many Navajo potters live in Arizona where there is still a good source of clay for making pottery.

Source: indians Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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