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Native Art

Haida totem pole, Thunderbird Park, British Columbia


Dresden Codex, Mayan, circa 11th or 12th century


Visual arts by indigenous peoples of the Americas encompasses the visual artistic traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas from ancient times to the present. These include works from South America, Mesoamerica, North America including Greenland, as well as Siberian Yup'ik peoples who have great cultural overlap with Native Alaskan Yup'iks.

In North America, the Lithic stage or Paleo-indian period is defined as approximately 18,000–8000 BCE. The period from around 8000–800 BCE is generally referred to as the Archaic period. The production of bannerstones, Projectile point, Lithic reduction styles and pictographic cave paintings are some of the art that remains from this time period.

Belonging in the Lithic stage, the oldest known art in the Americas is the Vero Beach bone, possibly a mammoth bone, etched with a profile of walking mammoth that dates back to 11,000 BCE.[1] The oldest known painted object in North American is the Cooper Bison Skull from 10,900–10,200 BCE..[2] Lithic age art in South America includes Monte Alegre culture rock paintings created at Caverna da Pedra Pintada dating back to 9250–8550 BCE.[3][4] Guitarrero Cave in Peru has the earliest known textiles in South America, dating to 8000 BCE.[5]

The southwestern United States and certain regions of the Andes have the highest concentration of pictographs (painted images) and Petroglyphs (carved images) from this period. Both pictographs and petroglyphs are known as rock art.

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