Native American gourd art is an alluring piece of Native American history. This rich history features the many uses the Native Americans had for gourds and how they preserved the gourds in an artistic fashion. Native American gourd art was most likely founded in the many ceremonial uses they had for common gourds. Interesting facts can be found about Native American gourd art and other cultures that had many uses for the gourd.
History of Native American Gourd Art
Not all historical documentation of Native American gourd art is depicting art, nor that the tribes preserved the gourds for artistic expressions, but used the gourds as food in its young stage before the gourd could harden. Other tribes would use the meat and seeds as medicine. Native American gourd art is reminiscent of the desired uses of the gourd.
They could use the hardened gourd shells as utensils for dipping, drinking, cooking, serving, eating and storing of food and liquids. Decorative gourds of this nature in Native American gourd art was often created for tribal elders in honor of their tribal stature. Most often though, the gourds used in this fashion were considered as disposable and are not a common part of the history of Native American gourd art.
One lead into Native American gourd art is the ceremonial uses of the gourds; in which, they were embellished with paints or dyes, wrapped in twine or vines and decorated to match the purpose of the ceremony. Although, the most common ceremony use of gourds was to use the gourd in its natural state as a rattle.
They may have oiled it to make it shiny or dyed the gourd with natural vegetation. Some Native American gourd art pieces may have been founded to decorate tribal burial grounds. These gourds are depicted as gifts to those walking in the spirit world. The Native American gourd art used in burial ceremonies can also have a varying depiction throughout various tribal cultures.
Native American gourd art history also relates how they found the gourds useful as birdhouses. They would hang several gourds, which were made into birdhouses, around the camp sites to attract small birds who would eat insects. This type of Native American gourd art is still a wonderful tradition we use today. Many of the Native American gourd art birdhouses and feeders of today are designed with the Native American culture in mind.
Native American gourd art of today is much more sophisticated, as we honor their uses. It is easy to imagine the Native American gourd art that was created out of necessity to be such an enriching part of our culture today.