Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oregon Pictograph Ceramic Pendant

Ancient cultures and their symbols is a favorite subject of mine to study. Oregon is rich in archeological art and this earthenware pendant shows an example of a pictograph found in Harney County.

I have glazed this pendant to have the appearance of an old weathered rock, with the pictograph created with a glaze close to the color that may have been used to create the original image. More photos of this unique pendant can be found in my Good Dirt Jewelry shop on

*What is the difference between a pictograph and a petroglyph?*

A pictograph, which is usually found on the surface of a light colored rock, is an image that was created by painting with a variety of pigments made up of soot and/or local minerals that had been made into a powdered form. Red could have been made from hematite or iron oxide, and orange could have been made by adding limonite. Malachite provided the green, azurite the blue, and turquoise probably came from ground up turquoise. Other sources of pigment included white clay, silica, gypsum, chalk, calcium carbonate, and charcoal. Pastels were created from clay mixed with other minerals. Thanks to the arid climate found in central and eastern Oregon, many examples can be found today of this early artwork.

A petroglyph is an image that has been chipped, chiseled or pecked into the surface of a rock. These are typically found on exposed rock surfaces. They depict hunting scenes, religious or magical symbols, ancient astrological symbols and other surreal symbols whose meaning is only known to the ancient cultures that created them.