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The Hand in Native American Art


Native American Navajo Sterling Silver  hand PendantIn Native American art, the hand usually represents the presence of man. From the earliest hand imprints on cave walls, the hand depicts a man's work, achievements and his personal history.

When a hand had a swirl in the middle of it, that is said to be the "eye in hand" and represents a mystic, or all-seeing, hand, the presence of the Great Spirit in man.

A Native American's horse was highly honored and often covered in symbols for various purposes. This would vary from tribe to tribe but hand prints were often used in various positions on a horse to mean different things.

The most prized handprint was when preparing for battle, if it was a kill-or-be-killed mission, an upside-down hand would be placed on the warrior's horse.

Native American Navajo Sterling Silver  hand PendantIf a horse knocked down an enemy, right and left hand prints were put on the horse's chest.

The Pat Hand Print was the left hand pressed onto the horse's right hindquarters. It was put on a horse who had returned from a dangerous mission with his master unharmed.

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