Folk art around the world

 

 

A lustful guy, constructed of a spruce trunk and branches, Vrata Valley, Triglavski National Park, Slovenia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Wall painting in the city of Haverhill, northern Massachusetts, United States, depicting a boxing match. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A street vendor in Zhongdian, Yunnan Province, China, has produced this figure, depicting a crane, from melted sugar. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Kitschy wall painting at a restaurant in the Bluntau Valley, near Golling, Salzburg, Austria, depicting brown bears (Ursus arctos), a capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), and a medieval hunter. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

On this page, a collection of folk art from various countries around the world is shown, arranged alphabetically according to country name.

In Europe, and elsewhere, Middle Age artwork was often depicted as murals inside churches. Numerous examples of such artwork may be seen on the page Religion: Christianity.

 

 

Austria

 

 

This fine dragon, displayed near Lake Toplitz, Bad Aussee, has been made from scrap metal and chicken wire. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Mural, depicting bakers at work, Friesach, Steiermark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Brunei

 

 

Wall mosaic, depicting daily life in Brunei. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Cameroun

 

The roof of the house below, encountered in a village in the Kapsiki Mountains, is a true piece of artwork, consisting of beautifully woven mats. The bird is a pied crow (Corvus albus), a common bird in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Chile

 

 

Wall painting, depicting colourful houses, and a boy, flying a kite, Valparaiso. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

In central Chile, I encountered an abandoned house, which was full of wall paintings.

 

 

This caricature depicts Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (1915-2006), dictator of Chile between 1973 and 1990. His nickname was Pinocchio. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Naked lady. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) is a smallish tree of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae), native to Mexico, Central America, and northernmost South America. However, it has been introduced to almost all tropical and subtropical countries as an ornamental. Another name of the plant is temple tree, as it is often planted near Buddhist and Hindu temples.

 

 

Wall painting, depicting a lady with frangipani flowers in her hair, Valparaiso. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Hummingbird – detail of the painting above. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

China

 

 

A street vendor in Zhongdian, Yunnan Province, has produced these figures, depicting a crane and a rooster, from melted sugar – a popular treat among local children. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Fleeting street art: This man is writing Chinese characters with water on the pavement, Guiyang, Guizhou Province. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This paper cutting, depicting a tribal village and people working in rice fields, was made by Yao (Jiao) tribals in the town of Duyun, Guizhou Province. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Crane, made from paper, Anshun, Guizhou Province. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Costa Rica

 

The white-headed capuchin (Cebus capucinus) is native to forests of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and coastal Columbia and Ecuador. It is quite common and often rather confiding.

The word capuchin derives from a group of Franciscan friars, named the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, which arose in 1520, when Italian friar Matteo da Bascio claimed that God had informed him that the manner of life led by his contemporary friars was not the one, which St. Francis of Assisi had dictated. The friars of this order wear brown robes with pointed hoods, called capuche. When the conquistadors reached Central America late in the 15th Century, they noticed some small monkeys, whose colouring resembled these friars, so they named them capuchins. (Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capuchin_monkey)

In the West, this species is one of the best known of all monkeys, as it was often the faithful companion of the organ grinder, who would walk from town to town, playing his organ, while his monkey would perform a dance.

The great curassow (Crax rubra), of the family Cracidae, is a large, pheasant-like bird distributed from eastern Mexico eastwards through Central America to western Colombia and north-western Ecuador.

 

 

This sign outside a tour agency in Tortuguero National Park, Limón, is advertizing jungle trips, using a white-headed capuchin and a great curassow as eye-catchers. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Painting on a church wall in Puerto Jiménez, Peninsula de Osa, depicting St. Francis of Assisi with a white horse and a scarlet macaw (Ara macao). The latter was hardly known in Italy in the 1200s! (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Comprising 5 subspecies, the mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) is widespread, distributed from south-eastern Mexico southwards to northern Peru. Subspecies palliata, the golden-mantled howler monkey, ranges from extreme eastern Guatemala eastwards to eastern Costa Rica, or possibly extreme western Panama. This subspecies is quite dark, with a rufous mantle. It mainly lives in the lowland, occasionally found up to 2,000 m altitude.

The brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) has a very wide distribution, found from Honduras southwards to eastern Peru, northern Bolivia, and southern Brazil.

 

 

Wall painting in Tortuguero National Park, Limón, depicting a golden-mantled howler monkey and a brown-throated sloth, with the following slogan, Tortuguero es pura vida (‘Tortuguero is pure life’). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Denmark

 

The free city of Christiania, Copenhagen, was established in 1971, when a group of hippies, slum stormers, and homeless people occupied a number of empty buildings in a former military barrack.

From the beginning, this area has been characterized by experiments within architecture and ways of living, and the place was also soon known as a ‘free’ area for trading hashish. Unfortunately, criminal elements also used Christiania to sell hard drugs, and for this reason the controversial area has always been characterized by confrontations between criminals and the police.

In 2004, the Danish parliament passed a law regarding normalization of the free city. The listed buildings should be fixed up, and illegally constructed buildings must be removed. However, Christiania was still to be preserved as a district with possibilities to live alternatively, and to continue the social and cultural activities of the area.

In 2011, a foundation called Fristaden Christiania (’Free city of Christiania’) was established, and it was able to acquire the area from the state, partly financed by shares. In 2012, about 900 people lived in Christiania, and the area is visited annually by around half a million tourists.

 

 

This graffiti, depicting voluptuous and beautiful women, Muhammad Ali, and Fidel Castro, was observed on the wall around Christiania, and on one of its house walls. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This friendly ogre has been placed in a knot on a tree trunk on the island of Bornholm. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

In Denmark, Bronze Age petroglyphs are mostly found on the island of Bornholm, in the Baltic Sea. Several other pictures, depicting such petroglyphs, are shown below, caption Sweden.

 

 

These petroglyphs on Madsebakke, near the town of Allinge, Bornholm, depict various items, including ships, sun images, bowl-shaped depressions, and footprints. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This modern petroglyph, depicting an eider (Somateria mollissima), was carved into a coastal rock on the islet of Christiansø, Bornholm, by artist Aage Gitz-Johansen (1897-1977), who lived on the island for long periods of time.

The eider is described on the page Nature: Snow and ice.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Mask and rooster, made by village people in eastern Jutland. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

School windows, decorated by children, Lyø, Funen. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

These images, depicting a man and two Dalmatian dogs, adorn a garden wall in the town of Rønne, Bornholm. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

‘Bird cage’, constructed of prickly rose stems, Zealand. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This carving depicts an Underjordisk (‘Underground Dweller’), a local type of gnome, which is unique to the island of Bornholm. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Germany

 

The picture below shows Catholic handicrafts from c. 1890, possibly originating in Germany, depicting the Three Wise Men, honouring the newborn Christ in the stables. According to legend, one of the Wise Men was black.

The rise of Christianity is described on the page Religion: Christianity.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Heart with a butterfly, constructed of wood, Thierstein, Bavaria. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Greece

 

The colourful witch below has been displayed as an eye-catcher outside a souvenir shop in the city of Rethymno, Crete. It was placed beside a fire hydrant, which has been painted to depict a young girl with a fancy hairstyle, wearing a yellow hat.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This ’well’ in the town of Chania, Crete, is made from various items, including decorated car tyres and a toy bucket. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Girl’ beneath an umbrella, Rethymno, Crete. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Tiny buildings, including a windmill, constructed of pebbles, near Kolimvari, Crete. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

India

 

In arid desert regions around the world, you often encounter rock walls or boulders, whose surface is covered by a thin, black or reddish-brown layer, maybe as thin as one hundredth of a millimeter, which, over thousands of years, has been formed by microscopic bacteria, living on the rock surface. These bacteria absorb tiny amounts of manganese and iron from the atmosphere, depositing it as a black layer of manganese oxide or a reddish layer of iron oxide on the rock. This layer also includes clay particles, which help to shield the bacteria against drought, extreme heat, and intense solar radiation. (Source: desertusa.com/desert-minerals/desert-varnish)

The popular name of this thin layer is desert varnish. Around the world, various prehistoric peoples have created artwork by scraping off a part of this ‘varnish’, leaving white images on a black or reddish background.

 

Near Saspol, Ladakh, many boulders are lying helter-skelter, some of which have been decorated with images, carved into the desert varnish. Subjects include hunters, Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), birds, and stupas – testimony to bygone hunters and to Buddhists.

 

 

(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

In spring and autumn, the Rohtang La Pass, Himachal Pradesh, is a very popular destination for Indian tourists, and below the pass, numerous dhabas (small road-side restaurants) have sprung up helter-skelter. Also, woollen hats and other warm clothes are sold to the lowlanders who are very sensitive to cold.

 

 

Woollen hats, displayed for sale in Marki below the pass. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This monkey, carved out of a coconut husk, has been placed to attract buyers’ attention to conches, displayed for sale in a bazaar, Haridwar, Uttarakhand. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

No smoking! – Wall painting in the town of Keylong, Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

A window opening in the city of Puri, Odisha (Orissa), has been adorned with carvings, depicting the black Hindu god Jagannath (a form of Krishna, who is an avatar of Vishnu), with his brother and sister.

Hindu gods and the concept of avatar are dealt with in detail on the page Religion: Hinduism.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This image, depicting Bhimsen, the Hindu god of trade, has been created in a street in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Painting, depicting a lion, on the backboard of a truck, Haryana. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Indonesia
The area around the Wenara Wana Temple (popularly called ‘Monkey Forest’), in Ubud, Bali, is home to several troops of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis). This species and many other monkeys are described on the page Animals – Mammals: Monkeys and apes.

In Ubud, a local artist has created a number of rather anthropomorphic sculptures, depicting these monkeys.

 

 

Macaque, playing cymbals. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This motorcyclist has been adorned with a marigold flower. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Pregnant female. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Kitschy sculpture, depicting a Hindu mythological hero and his consort, Kintamani, Bali. Note the broken arms. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Various kitschy sculptures are displayed outside Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a Hindu temple near Lake Bratan, Bali.

 

 

A friendly frog. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A fearsome tiger. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

The Batak are a group of closely related Austronesian peoples, including the Karo, Pakpak, Simalungun, Toba, Angkola, and Mandailing, who live in a large area of northern Sumatra. My acquaintance with these people stems from a visit to Lake Toba in 1975.

Pictures, depicting the Batak people, may be seen on several pages on this website, including People: Children around the world, Culture: Musicians, and Portraits.

 

 

A woven mat, painted in vivid colours, has been applied to the end wall of this house in the Batak village Lingga, Sumatra. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Kitschy souvenirs for sale, Ubud, Bali. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Ireland

 

 

Wall painting, depicting a Viking ship, Dublin. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Italy

 

 

Worn-out scythes, used as decoration, Passo delle Erbe (Börz Würzjoch), Dolomites. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

The picture below shows a kitschy Saint Bernard dog, made from gypsum or cement, displayed at the Lesser Saint Bernard Pass, on the border between Italy and France. The Saint Bernard dog is described on the page Animals: Animals as servants of Man.

In the background, another sculpture depicts a French police officer, complete with the red cap, the kepi.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Using a little paint and a cow bell, the end of this curved branch has been made into a friendly cow, Gran Paradiso National Park. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Life-size dummies, depicting an elderly farmer couple, Passo delle Erbe (Börz Würzjoch), Dolomites. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Kitschy art for sale, depicting old shoes, mice, and gnomes, Passo Falzarego, Dolomites. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

A tragic story is hidden behind the kitschy painting below, observed in a road altar in the village of Saletto, Chiusaforte, Dolomites. This altar was constructed to commemorate a 16-year-old girl, Maria Cesare, who perished in the mountains on September 6, 1824.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

The common edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) is described in detail on the page Plants: Flora of the Alps, whereas other species of edelweiss are presented on the page Plants: Himalayan flora.

In the village of Saint Rhémy, Aosta Valley, southern Alps, this house wall has been adorned with a carving, depicting an edelweiss and a Saint Bernard dog. This dog breed is dealt with on the page Animals: Animals as servants of Man.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Japan

 

 

Following the nuclear destruction of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thousands of paper cranes were folded by Japanese school children, symbolizing peace. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Malawi

 

 

This road vendor is selling locally produced wood carvings as souvenirs, Chembe, Lake Malawi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Malaysia

 

The ancient tribal rock paintings below, depicting people in boats, are found in the ‘Painted Cave’, Niah National Park, Sarawak, Borneo. The person in the bottom picture is probably a shaman. The spiral indicates that the artist was in a hallucinogenic trance, when he made the paintings.

 

 

(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Namibia

 

At various locations in southern Africa, artwork was created long ago, in caves and on rock walls, by San people (‘Bushmen’), who were once the only people to inhabit this part of the continent.

 

 

Rock painting, depicting hunters pursuing a gemsbok (Oryx gazella), Brandberg. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Nepal

 

Look and decide!”

Along many trails in the Himalaya, interesting information boards, painted by local artists, are displayed, showing hiking trails, mountains, rivers, villages, and a selection of the local wildlife. The boards below were all encountered in the Modi Khola Valley, Annapurna. 

 

 

This board depicts a Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), a leopard (Panthera pardus), and a creature, which is probably supposed to be a snow leopard (Panthera uncia), but rather more resembles a hybrid between a leopard and a tiger (Panthera tigris). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This board shows mountains, a dancing couple, and a pair of kalij pheasants (Lophura leucomelanos). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

In this painting, a pale-armed langur (Semnopithecus schistaceus) is playing a tabla. – Langurs and many other monkeys are described on the page Animals – Mammals: Monkeys and apes. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Sign in Kathmandu, advertising jungle safaris to Chitwan National Park, which apparently is home to enormous tigers! (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Pottery, depicting elephants, Kathmandu. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This urinating man, clad only in a topi (Nepalese style hat), has been painted on a house beam in the village of Landrung, Modi Khola Valley, Annapurna. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

New Zealand

 

The tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) is one of only two members of the honeyeater family (‎Meliphagidae) in New Zealand. It is common throughout the country. An older name of this bird is parsons bird, so named due to the two white tufts of feathers on its throat, which, to the early European settlers, resembled a vicar’s collar.

 

 

This iron sculpture, depicting a tui, has been nailed onto a tree in the town of Ohakune. The sculpture is very accurate, as you can see by comparing it with the bird in the bottom picture. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Cone with ice cream, painted on the window of a restaurant, Patea. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This kitschy sculpture, depicting a snow surfer, is placed above a shop in Ohakune, where winter sports equipment is sold or rented out. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This sculpture in New Plymouth depicts a friendly kelp gull (Larus dominicanus), a common bird along the coasts of the entire country. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Wooden flower pot, formed like a bicycle, Ohakune. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Kitschy art on an electric meter box, Stratford. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Might this odd sculpture, exhibited at Ohakune Railway Station, represent a cyclist? (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

On several locations in New Zealand, large collections of worn-out trekking boots, and other footwear, have been placed on fences and other places, in this case near Tawarau, North Island. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Iron sculpture near Muriwai Beach, depicting a jogger. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Slovenia

 

St. George was a Roman soldier, who was executed around 303 for his Christian belief. He since became the patron saint for farmers, knights, and horsemen. The name George is from the Greek georgos (‘farmer’).

 

 

A famous legend relates that St. George killed a dragon, which held a princess captive. This mural in the village of Prtovč, Triglavski National Park, shows St. George, killing the dragon – in this case a manageable task, considering the size of the dragon. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

South Africa

 

This wall in Lambert’s Bay has been decorated by school children.

 

 

This painting depicts jackass penguins (Spheniscus demersus) and gulls. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

It seems that this boy would like to have a fish! (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Sri Lanka

 

The verses below, often referred to as ‘graffiti’, are just three among many, which were written, probably in the 8th and 9th Centuries A.D., on a rock named Sigiriya (‘Lion Rock’), eastern Sri Lanka, in praise of the voluptuous Sinhalese noble ladies, depicted on frescos in a niche on the rock wall.

Construction of a fortress atop Sigiriya has often been ascribed to the Sinhalese King Kasyapa, or Kassapa (ruled 473-495 A.D.) – a terrible man, who killed his own father and tried to kill his brother Moggallana, who was the rightful heir to the throne. Moggallana escaped to India, but later returned to Sri Lanka with an army. A huge battle ensued, during which Kasyapa was killed.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that parts of the fortress were built long before Kasyapa’s reign. (Source: Roloff Beny & John Lindsay Opie 1970. Island Ceylon. Thames & Hudson, London)

 

I am Poyal, the palace guardsman.
This is my song.
Forgive me, oh long-eyed maid of the mountain side.
Coming hither, my mind was filled by the fair ones.
Seeing them, death no longer dismays me.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Coming hither,
Piyal saw the long-eyed ladies on the mountain side,
separated from their lover,
grieving for the sufferings of the King,
with eyes like blue lilies in full bloom.
The song sung to the painting.

 

(It seems that someone might have made this verse as a comment to Poyal’s poem above, but misspelt his name.)

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Hail! A gold-coloured one on the mountain side,
whose resplendent rosy hand bore a blue water-lily,
bewitched my heart and tore it from another.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This drawing, depicting a butterfly, sucking from a hibiscus flower, was made by a Sri Lankan village boy. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This scarecrow, complete with shoes, scarf, and umbrella, was observed in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Wall painting, depicting street performers with a sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), Negombo. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Sweden

 

Bronze Age petroglyphs abound in Bohuslän, western Sweden. The pictures below show a tiny fraction of these carvings.

 

 

This petroglyph depicts two men with head ornaments (or two women?), holding on to a circular object. Ships, a ploughing man, and various animals, including reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and aurochs (Bos taurus ssp. primigenius), are also present. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Aurochsen, one of which may be butting a man. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Ships. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Dancing men, a man in battle, a ship, a reindeer, and dogs. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Men in battle. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This carving has been dubbed ’the newly-weds’. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Decorated letter boxes, Pataholm, south of Oscarshamn, Småland. The plants beneath the boxes are harebells (Campanula rotundifolia). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

These branches with knots have been shaped to form E.T. and a cat, Öland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Silhouette cutting in a window, Kivik, Skåne. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Wood fairy, looking out from behind a tree, Öland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Switzerland

 

 

Gnomes are much utilized as decoration in the Alps. In this picture from Boltigen im Simmental, they have been placed among scented geraniums (Pelargonium hortonum), the most popular house plant in the Alps. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Hearts, made from small stones with a hole in the centre, likewise from Boltigen im Simmental. In the background scented geraniums. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Graffiti on a house wall in the town of Sion, Valais. An edge on the wall has been incorporated in the drawing as a ‘chair’. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Owl and boy – kitschy art in the village of Plan Cerisier, Rhone Valley. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Taiwan

 

Pictures, depicting the rich and varied folk art of Taiwan, are presented on a separate page, see Culture: Folk art of Taiwan.

 

 

 

Thailand

 

The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world, standing only up to 30 cm high and weighing between 1.5 and 3 kilograms. This breed first evolved in Mexico, apparently descended from a breed called Techichi, which was a popular dog among the Toltec people.

 

 

This wooden Chihuahua is used in a puppet show, performed by Phuket Marionette, a Thai puppet marionette group. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Turkey

 

 

Kitschy sculptures, depicting roosters, Kapalıçarşı (‘The Covered Market’), Istanbul. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This sculpture, depicting a rotund cook, is placed as an eye-catcher outside a restaurant in the town of Karapinar, east of Konya. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Frog band, Istanbul. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Sculpture, depicting a fisherman with a gilt-headed bream (Sparus aurata), Mordogan, Karaburun Peninsula, near Izmir. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Folk art, made from an old scooter and rubber boots, Karapinar, east of Konya. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

United States

 

Driving through California, I came across two storage places for hundreds of kitschy wood carvings, at Garberville and Leggett. One example is shown below, whereas others may be seen on the page Culture: Wood carvings.

 

 

This carving shows the famous ’Bigfoot’, a creature like the Himalayan Yeti – a giant, human-like ape, which supposedly roams the forests of western United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This rusted entrance gate to an abandoned farm, ‘Quail Rock Ranch’, situated in Mohave National Preserve, California, depicts a family of California quail (Callipepla californica). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

During the Catholic Festival of the Dead, in America called Halloween, this Halloween ‘family’, partly made from pumpkins, is displayed outside a house in Cummington, Massachusetts. This festival is described on the page Autumn.

 

 

(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

These petroglyphs on a rock wall in Capitol Reef National Monument, Utah, were created by an unknown people. They probably depict bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis).

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Wall painting, depicting a dragon, Chinatown, San Francisco, California. The role of the dragon in Chinese mythology is described on the page Religion: Daoism in Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

The sculpture below, exhibited near Alliance, Nebraska, has been made from scrapped cars. It has been dubbed ‘Carhenge’, alluding to its similarity to the famous Stonehenge in England, a picture of which may be seen on the page Culture: Megaliths.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Sign outside a pub in Old Portland, Maine, depicting a beautiful mermaid. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This huge sculpture, depicting the famous giant ape King Kong, is placed on one of the buildings of the Hollywood Wax Museum, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

In a garden near Lexington, Kentucky, I encountered these two examples of folk art.

 

 

Cat, made from metal parts. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This sculpture, made from garden tools and painted pink, possibly depicts a flamingo. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This giant sculpture in San Diego, California, depicts a sailor, kissing his girlfriend goodbye. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Kitschy art for sale, Old Portland, Maine. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

This sculpture on a roof top in Mendocino, California, depicts the Death Angel, tugging the hair of a woman. Note the hourglass.

A western gull (Larus occidentalis) has landed on the head of the woman, perhaps waiting to see what will happen?

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

The term desert varnish is explained above, in caption India. Below are several examples from the western United States.

 

Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, a rock panel located in San Juan County, Utah, holds one of the largest known collections of Native American petroglyphs, depicting numerous subjects, including mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), bison (Bos bison), hunters, shamans, and footprints (of bears?).

 

 

(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Comprising more than 650 images, another collection of carvings, also called Newspaper Rock, is situated in Puerco River Valley, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. These images are a bit more stylistic than the ones in Utah.

 

 

In this image, a huge bird is possibly piercing a person with its scimitar-like bill. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A third area with desert varnish carvings is found in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. In this area, an ancient people was living in a rock ledge village for about 700 years, between 600 and 1300 A.D.

 

 

These images show shamans, bighorn sheep, and other subjects. The spirals indicate that the artist was in a hallucinogenic trance, when he created the images. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Kitschy sculpture in the city of Haverhill, northern Massachusetts. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This wall painting in Haverhill depicts the former hard life of female sewers in a factory. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Reeds Beach, Cape May, New Jersey, is a village with many alternative-style buildings, and numerous pieces of folk art are exhibited on house walls or in the gardens.

 

 

The wings of this flamingo are constructed in a way that makes them flutter in the wind. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A rabbit, or maybe a hare, made from two boards. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) below, produced from a metal sheet, has been placed on a house wall, together with crossed oars. The birds resting on the fish are barn swallows (Hirundo rustica). This bird is described in depth on the page Animals: Urban animal life.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Vietnam

 

 

Wall paintings in Hanoi, depicting daily life in Vietnam in bygone days. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

On the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, you often encounter young artists, who make an income from drawing people. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Kitschy mother-of-pearl mosaic, Halong Bay. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Electricity meter box in Hanoi, to which the wires have been attached rather sloppily. The box has been adorned with a kitschy painting. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

The red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis), also called Japanese or Manchurian crane, breeds in large reedbeds in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and south-eastern Siberia, and a small population is also found on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. This species is commonly depicted in Chinese art, also in Vietnam.

 

 

Wall painting, depicting red-naped cranes and lotus flowers (Nelumbo nucifera), Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Old Chinese wall relief with a rather stylistic depiction of red-naped cranes, Ngoc Son Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Decorated garbage can, Cuc Phuong National Park. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Illuminated relief, depicting a fish and lotus leaves (Nelumbo nucifera), Ngoc Son Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

As Christmas is approaching, these bushes in Hanoi have been cut to form reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) – the draught animal of Santa Claus. The reindeer is described on the page Animals – Mammals: Deer.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Zimbabwe

 

At various locations in southern Africa, artwork was created long ago, in caves and on rock walls, by San people (‘Bushmen’), who were once the only people to inhabit this part of the continent.

 

 

This painting in Nswatugi Cave, Matobo National Park, depicts hunters, pursuing southern giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. giraffa) and greater kudus (Strepsiceros strepsiceros ssp. zambeziensis). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Rock painting, depicting dancing people, McIlwaine Game Park. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Rock painting near Ngomakirira, depicting hunters who pursue an impala (Aepyceros melampus). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This painting, likewise from Ngomakirira, depicts a hunter, pursuing a black rhino (Diceros bicornis). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

(Uploaded September 2016)

 

(Latest update February 2021)