Buyers Guide to Native American Art

Native American Arts and Crafts are celebrated throughout the world for their distinctive style, high levels of craftsmanship and the range of items that are available to collect.

Native American Art

With the advent of the railroad in the 1890s making travel to Western America a lot easier Native American arts and crafts became a popular amongst tourist wanting to take a memento home with them. There is so much to choose from; from jewellery and clothing to pottery and baskets.

Deciding what item to buy or collect has to be a matter of personal preference. Some items have a functionary use, while others are simply decorative. As with anything a little research into the items is an absolute must before making any kind of purchase.

Baskets-weaving is one of the oldest Native American traditions with different tribes using different techniques and patterns using materials found in the surrounding area. As time went on and with the introduction of new techniques and materials basket weaving also changed. Interest in these items considered with the rise of Arts and Crafts movement which shunned mass-produced products. 

Native American arts and crafts became a popular amongst tourist wanting to take a memento home with them.

Totem poles are synonymous with Native American culture. Typically carved of wood they vary in size from tiny hand held ones to some soaring several feet high. These items have become extremely collectible over recent years as people’s fascination with the Native American culture grows. Totems have been removed illegally in the past so it is essential that authenticity be proved. 

Native American clothing was worn as a status symbol among tribes. Incorporating many natural materials including animal hide, teeth, feather quills and bone. As well as intricate beadwork and brightly coloured decorative designs. Tribes would craft their clothing for high functionality using traditional techniques perfected over hundreds of years. Popular clothing items to collect include jackets, moccasins, shirts and belts.

Native American artisans continue to practise their crafts today, perhaps as their livelihood but mainly in order to keep their history, culture and spirituality alive!

Some key tips:

One of the most important things that you can do when thinking about buying Native American art is to do your research. There are lots of .. which can help you identify objects which are only produced by certain tribes.

Authenticity is an important consideration and Native American art can be identified by the trademark of the artist look at The Indian Arts and Crafts Association who have a list of all registered and certified Native American artisans.

There are lots of fakes on the market so make sure you are buying from a reputable dealer, it is illegal to pass off something as Native American if it isn’t!!

Don’t be shy to contact the original maker wherever possible if there is doubt as to the authenticity.

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