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The Shapes Used in Northwest Coast Indian Art - Page 2

The previous page discussed the formline and the ovoid shape used in Northwest Coast Indian art. This page continues with other shapes used by Northwest Native artists.

The U-Form Shape of Northwest Coast Indian Art

The second most common shape used in Northwest Coast Indian art is the U-form. As the term suggests, they resemble thick letter ‘U’s with ends tapering to sharp points. Like ovoids, U-forms can vary in proportions but they all have the U shape. Larger U-forms are used to contour the body of the subject and as part of the formline for tails or ears. Smaller U-forms are used as space fillers and even feathers of a bird. Multiple U-forms can also be stacked together to represent tails or fins. Below are examples of Northwest Indian art U-forms.

northwest coast indian art u-form ---- northwest coast indian art u-form ----- northwest coast indian art u-form ------- northwest coast indian art u-form
Examples of Northwest Coast Indian Art U-Forms

A common variation of the U-form is the split U-form. This is where the U-form is split in the middle with the inner U looking more like a ‘V’ that ends up with a point in the center. Split U-forms can also vary in proportion. They are used in ears, feathers and tails. Northwest Native artists also use split U-forms as space fillers in open spaces. Below are examples of Northwest Coast Indian art split U-forms.

northwest coast indian art split-form --------- northwest coast indian art split u-form -------- northwest coast indian art split u-form ----- northwest coast indian art split u-form
Examples of Northwest Coast Indian Art Split U-Forms

Quite often, U-forms are used in conjunction with ovoids to form the arms, legs, ears and other body parts. The possibilities of what can be portrayed with just this ovoid and U-form shape combination are enormous in the hands of talented Northwest Native artists. Two examples of an ovoid and split U-form combination are below. Notice the one in the right utilizes two split U-forms, one stacked on top of the other.

northwest coast indian art ovoid split u-form combo -------------- northwest coast indian art ovoid split u-form combo
Examples of Northwest Coast Indian Art Ovoid
with Split U-Form Combination

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