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HISTORY OF NATIVE AMERICAN STONE SCULPTURE

Native American sculpture in stone is nothing new. Native Americans carvings in shell and stone have been uncovered in prehistoric sites and the carving of fetishes - animal and anthropomorphic religious carvings - is still practiced by many tribes, most notably the Zuni. But sculpture in alabaster, marble, soapstone and other like materials represent a fairly new medium for Native American Indian artists. Sculptures of this type began to appear in the latter half of the 20th century and the themes of these artworks are perhaps the most modern and esoteric to arise out of the more conservative early Native American art traditions. As modern sculptures, the Native American artists that create them use modern tools, bringing from the raw stone beautiful representations of Southwestern art in human, animal, and religious forms.