Tribal Symbols

The symbols that the American Indians used were very complex and representative of their way of life. Many of these symbols talk of the past and future, telling stories of the older cultures and the ways of life. Many times tribal symbols are easy to understand, while others were harder to decipher. Tribal artwork can be looked at in different ways, as it is somewhat a simple design, yet intricate all at one time.

Tribal symbols all mean a certain thing, although some can have dual meanings. For example, a human figure that has spirals amongst it can mean both marriage and power. Many tribal symbols can also vary, depending on the time and the place they were found at.

Kiva Trading American Indians Symbols

Shannon Thunderbird Sacred symbols

Native American Symbols Native American symbols

A birth tribal figure is done with a diamond to represent the pregnant girl's body. Lines stick out for arms and legs. This symbol is for life and fertility. Tribal art also used flowers, trees, plants, animals and the like to symbolize various instances. Flowers and other living entities are representative of life, and animals would represent a social position or wealth. Common animals that were seen in tribal symbols were horses, snakes and goats.

Manatake Understanding symbols

Native Arts Indian symbols on the war horse

Indian Summer Indian symbols

Other tribal symbols commonly used were human figures, which were usually exaggerated with bigger body parts. Religion also played a part in tribal symbols, and included amulets and talismans. Many tribes believed that by drawing these figures, they could ward away evil spirits and entities. The artworks of tribal spirals are symbolic of rising, and were often in reference to the winter and summer solstices.

The most common color found in tribal symbols and art is black. Red and yellow were also used. Many times red was used to symbolize fertility, but history has shown that these were usually simply the colors that were the easiest to find.

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