Hides from the Spirit, 18 x 24, oil on linen
American Indians painted their faces for decorative purposes and for protection against the wind, sun, snow and insects. Designs of various kinds were used to designate membership in certain societies, to prepare for ceremonies, to mark achievement and to mourn the dead. When used for personal ornamentation there was no guide to the way the paint should be applied beyond the fancy of the wearer or for personal identification.
If a warrior had his face painted when he went on a raid into an enemies camp, he would change the face paint after the raid so the spirits of the dead would not recognize him and follow the warrior back to camp.