Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

Next: Ear & Nose PiercingContentsPrevious: Tatooing

Miwok Material Culture: Indian Life of the Yosemite Region (1933) by S. A. Barrett and E. W. Gifford


PIGMENTS

Black paint, kula (P, N), for poles and human bodies, was made of charcoal. White paint, ō'ūōū (P, N) was made of chalk (walañasu, C), which in Central Miwok territory was obtainable from the bottom of springs at Springfield.

Red paint, a'wa (P, N) and moke (C), was a mineral pigment, brought by the Eastern Mono to trade for arrows, baskets, and other things. A lump of red pigment as big as one’s fist could be purchased with a common basket a few inches high and a few inches in diameter. There is said to be a whole mountain of this red mineral east of the Sierra Nevada, in Eastern Mono territory; also a mountain (Yololamü) containing it, in Central Miwok territory, between lake Eleanor and Cherry river. From this place the Miwok obtained red paint for dancers, as well as getting it by trade from the Mono.

All three pigments were pulverized in water. Sometimes the red pigment was first rubbed to a powder on a stone. To the face the pigment was applied with a flexible stick. The hand was used as the brush in painting large poles. The Miwok rarely used paints for personal ornamentation, as did their Mono neighbors to the east. At ceremonies black, red, and white paints were used. Black was sometimes applied with the end of a charred stick, such as that shown in plate LXIII, fig. 3.

Aside from ceremonial uses there appears to have been but slight application of paint to the face and body. The sleepy catchfly, Silene antirrhina, was used to paint the faces of young girls. This plant has a brown, sticky substance on portions of its stems. This was used for the linear design, often horizontal. On the face, the brown adhesive turns black. It was used purely as a cosmetic and had no connection with first menstruation observances.



Next: Ear & Nose PiercingContentsPrevious: Tatooing

Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/miwok_material_culture/pigments.html