The Cherokee were and are still famous for their
art. In olden days, their talent was used in making clay pots, carved
pipes, canoes, masks, rattles, clothing, baskets, and beads.
were carved from wood. The men first cut a log. They hollowed out the
log by using burning coals from the fire. They scraped the insides
with sharp stones. Canoes were decorated with designs made with burnt
sticks and sharp stones.
Clay Pots: The
Cherokee dug clay. They used the clay to make handmade pots. While the
clay was still wet, they decorated the pots with designs made with
sticks and stones. Then pots were baked in the fire to give them
strength. They used clay pots as cooking utensils, liquid holders, and
planters. Planters were placed near their homes and filled with
flowers, spices, and food items. No tribe used a potter's wheel.
Everything was shaped by hand.
Carved Pipes: The
Cherokee carved pipes from clay, wood, and soapstone. Pipes used in
religion ceremonies and peace ceremonies were carefully decorated.
They also made pipes for everyday use. They smoked tobacco in their
Rattles: In olden days, only the men made masks.
Cherokee men carved ferocious masks from wood. They painted them.
Sometimes they added fur decorations. Warriors used these scary masks
to make fun of their enemies. Before a battle, the warriors would
dance around wearing scary masks, and laugh and laugh. This type of
mask was called a Booger Mask.
They made rattles to scare away evil spirits, and
at the same time, to invite the attention of good spirits. Rattles
were made with turtle shells filled with corn kernels. Some rattles
were made from gourds and squashes.
Baskets: In olden days, only the women made
baskets. Baskets had fancy designs, and were made in a special
way, with double weaving, using river cane, so that they were very
sturdy. Designs were handed down from mother to daughter. Some baskets
were painted as well as dyed. The Cherokee created paints from berry
juice, nuts, and roots. Although their baskets added color and gaiety
to the appearance of their homes, they were also useful. Baskets were
used for just about everything - to gather the crops, to store
food, to store belongings, to haul.
Items: The Cherokee used river cane for weaving
split dyed gathering baskets, but they also used river cane
for making blow guns, shields, masks, and painted flutes. They were
and still are famous for the many beautiful and useful items they made
with river cane.
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