- Arts and Design
Native American Face Paint Color Meanings
Significance of Tribal Colors
Each Native American Tribe has colors and symbols, that represent their beliefs in the power of that color.
Black can represent any of the following: night; underworls; male; cold; disease; and when worn as face paint represents "living".
The black color was created from wild grapes, hickory bark, alder bark,dogwood bark,and mountain mohogany bark.
Green represented plant life; earth; summer and rain. When it was worn under the eyes as face paint it was believed to empower the wearer with night vision.
The green color was made from moss, algae, lily of the valley leaves, and jumiper berries.
White represented winter; death or snow. White was also the color of peace when it was used as face paint.
Red indicated wounds; sunset; thunder; blood; earth; and day. Used as a face paint it represented violence. The red color was created from sumac berries, dogwood bark,beets, and poke berries.
Yellow represented sunshine, day and dawn. As a face paint it was the color of death, worn only by those in mourning.
The color yellow was extracted from onion skins,goldenrod stems and flowers, sunflower petals, dock roots, marigold petals, moss, peach leaves, birch leaves, and sage brush.
Blue stood for the sky, water, female, clouds, lightning, moon, thinder, and sadness.
The blue color was made from larkspur petals, alfalfa flowers, and sunflower seeds.
Brown was created from walnut shells and birch bark. It apparently was not used as a face paint.
Purple was made from blackberries, blueberries,poke berries, raspberries, and rotten maple wood. It too, apparently was not used as a face paint.
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Native American Dancers
The direction North was represented by the color blue and indicated cold, defeat and trouble.
was represented as white , which meant warmth, peace and happiness.
was represented by the color red, which was th ecolor of sacred fire,blood and success.
was represented by the black and indicated problems and death.