THE PAINTING & MEANING
The Indians knew how to use colors very sensitively and used the stylized motifs extremely effectively. Nevertheless, there were always only a few painted tents in the camp. The painting meant that the owner had a special honor. They belonged to certain families or served as ceremony, and medicine tents. The painting of the tepees also had a deeper spiritual meaning and was associated with various religious acts.
Even though the Native American artists dealt with the three-dimensional perspective, they deliberately suppressed it here. In their way of thinking all depicted persons and motives were equivalent and were painted behind or over each other. Nevertheless, it is amazing what dynamic and interesting works were created with the simple and limited possibilities.
The lower part of the tipi embodied the earth. The upper part represented the spiritual world. In the middle path, between heaven and earth, events such as valiant deeds, desires and desires or visions of the owner were portrayed.
For the painting of the fabric we recommend the use of commercial acrylic paints and a bristly brush. The color is elastic and holds on the tipistoff over several years. It remains intense in color and does not crumble. The brushes can then be washed out well with water. To get a rich color result, we apply the paint undiluted and work well into the material. When completely dry, the paint is waterproof.
Each painted teepee was part of a complex, religious ritual. While the owner was performing a particular ceremony, an artist painted in black paint the outlines, the corresponding representations on the cloth. These were then painted in color by the tent owner and other dignitaries. The entire ceremonial ended with a cleansing steam bath, in a sweat lodge.