Paints and stains.
—The processes of painting and staining which employ inorganic pigments are used to color the face and body, articles made of skin, wood, and nature forms, and certain fabrics for which the required colors cannot be obtained in permanent dyes.
These earth colors are found in the mountains and valleys surrounding each pueblo. Most of the villages are thus able to obtain their own supplies, but often color in the form of cakes or powder is obtained by trade with other Indians. The Zuñi procure their turquoise blue mask paint, ready for use, from the Santo Domingo because they believe the color is better. Mrs. Parsons relates that a Jemez Indian once asked her to get some red face paint from the Hopi for him. "He said they had the best." The hue of these pigments varies greatly with the locality in which they are found and the purity with which they can be obtained. A report on Acoma suggests that the original earth color is none too pure, but by separating the ground particles a fairly clear color is obtained. "A yellowish rock is ground fine and the dust mixed with water. The sediment is thrown away after being allowed to settle twice. The third accumulation of sediment is kept."
Some colors come in rock form; others are a clay. "Iron tinged the earth red, brown, yellow, orange and intermediate shades. Copper produced
the blues and greens. Black came from iron and magnesium." The pigment, from whatever source, is ground in a stone mortar or on a metate with a mano. The process of grinding is often a special ceremony at which the young girls are invited to do the grinding while the men sing to them. At other times the grinding is a secret rite and is done in the kiva by the society head and his helpers. The ground powder is mixed with water and used directly, or it may be combined with an adhesive, substance, such as piñon gum or the juice of yucca fruit, to make it more permanent. Another method of fixing a permanent color is to squirt over it a water in which ground-up pumpkin seeds have been steeped for a long time. A shiny surface is made possible by mixing the paint with yucca juice or the yolk or white of eggs. A glaze of albumen from the egg white may be applied over the paint, or a spray of cow's milk blown from the mouth makes the object bright and shiny. Grease is mixed with body paint to make it adhere and also to impart a sheen.
Paints are applied with the fingers, a stick, or brushes of yucca fiber. A piece of yucca leaf is selected and chewed to separate the fibers and cleanse them. This makes a very good brush. A different brush is used for each color. The pigments are mixed in small pottery cups made specially in groups for that purpose and decorated with designs relating to water and rain. Sometimes flower petals and shells are ground and mixed with the powder to give it more 'power' or to make it more sacred.
Even today the paints for ceremonial purposes are of native make. It is a rare and decadent society which permits the use of any commercial paint on the masks, body, or dress of a dancer.
White is obtained from a white clay (kaolin) which is soaked in water or ground and used as a powder—the counterpart of the fuller's earth, or
white clay paste, used by Greek and Roman artisans to cleanse and whiten their cloth. All white garments are treated with it before they are worn. This clay is found up and down the Rio Grande and is traded to the Zuñi by the Acoma. Masks are always painted white before any other color is applied. This forms a ground coat to fill up pores and give a smooth surface. White is often used as a body paint or powdery.
Black may be obtained from various sources. A pigment in common use comes from an ore (pyrolurite, a hydrated oxide of manganese) which is mined. This is used on prayer sticks and masks. Chimney soot is also used, especially for the eyes of a mask—being, for that purpose, mixed with the yolk of an egg to produce a gloss. Corncobs, carbonized and ground, make a highly valued paint for masks. At Zuñi, they are found in the ancient ruins and carefully preserved for this purpose. Similar to this is the charcoal of willow which, when ground, is mixed with water for a body paint. Corn rust or fungus mixed with water is used especially for a body paint; mixed with yucca syrup, it makes a shiny black paint which is used for masks. An iridescent blackish substance ("black shiny dirt") is found in the water washes after a rain. It is probably the fine grains of quartz, sphalerite, and galena, the last-named being a ground concentrate of zinc ore. This is mixed with grease and applied to the body, or it is mixed with yucca juice or piñon gum and applied to masks. Masks are also made to shine by the use of mica (micacious hematite), which is applied over black with some form of adhesive.
Pink is a body paint used especially by the sacred clowns, the Mudheads (pl. 40), and by the Kokochi and other masked gods. It is a clay[*] obtained by the Zuñi from the shores of the Sacred Lake where the kachinas live. Every four years a pilgrimage is made there to secure it. It is kept in chunks until wanted, and then is wet with the tongue and rubbed on the body or mask.
The reds and yellows are ochers or oxides of iron. These rock forma-
tions, hematite and limonite, constitute the rugged edges of the mesa and the weird towering shapes that stand, massive and solitary, on the desert throughout all the great distance from the Grand Canyon to the Rio Grande. Certain cliffs or mounds produce colors of greater purity than others do, and these the Indians have mined for centuries. One cave on the north side of the Grand Canyon produces a fine red ocher which is traded to the Hopi by the Shivwits, a tribe of Indians who dwell to the north. Other mines are within easy reach of all the pueblos. The red is generally ground on a stone with water until the water becomes red. It can be used directly on the masks or the body. If light red is desired, the red water is mixed with pink or white clay. At Zuñi the yellow ocher is ground with the petals of yellow summer flowers (the buttercup) and abalone shells. This makes a very potent 'medicine.' When mixed with water, it becomes a sacred paint. Another yellow is made of corn pollen. When mixed with the boiled yucca juice, it produces a glossy paint. It is thought to be flesh color. At Laguna the faces of the dead are painted with corn pollen.
The most important color is turquoise. This blue-green paint is an oxidized copper ore (azurite and malachite in a calcite matrix). It is found in the mountains to the east of the Rio Grande and is traded by the pueblos of those regions to the Hopi and Zuñi. Cakes or balls of this color are made by grinding the ore to a fine powder, mixing it with water, and boiling with piñon gum. The cakes can then be put away and kept indefinitely. A method of painting masks at Acoma with this pigment is described as follows: "One puts some of this substance into his mouth with eagle feathers, chews it for some time, then blows it onto the mask. The breath is expelled with it, giving the effect of a spray."
There are also stains from plants which are used to color the body. Pink is produced by boiling wheat with a small sunflower, and purple can be obtained from the chewed stalks and husks of black corn. An example is seen on the body of the blue-masked Salimapiya (pl. 6). The
purple obtained from crushing the berries of barberry is used on the body and for painting ceremonial objects.