Folk art around the world



On this page, a collection of folk art from various countries around the world is shown, arranged in alphabetical order after country name. Pictures of the rich and varied folk art of Taiwan are presented on a separate page, see Culture: Folk art of Taiwan.



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.







Alperne 2018
Mural, depicting bakers at work, Friesach, Steiermark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Kitschy art, depicting a dragon, made from scrap metal and chicken wire, Lake Toplitz, near Bad Aussee. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




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








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








The beautifully woven mats on this house roof in a village in the Kapsiki Mountains is a true piece of artwork. The bird on the roof is a pied crow (Corvus albus), a common bird in sub-Saharan Africa. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)








Chile 2011a
Wall painting, depicting colourful houses, Valparaiso. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




In central Chile, I encountered an abandoned house, which was full of wall paintings. Two of these are shown below.



Chile 2011a
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)



Chile 2011a
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.



Chile 2011a
Wall painting, depicting a lady with frangipani flowers in her hair, Valparaiso. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Chile 2011a
Hummingbird – detail of the painting above. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)








Yunnan 2007
Yunnan 2007
Yunnan 2007
Yunnan 2007
These children in Zhongdian, Yunnan Province, enjoy eating figures of cranes and roosters, made from melted sugar by a street vendor. (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)




Guizhou-Yunnan 2007
This paper cutting, depicting a tribal village and people working in a rice field, 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. 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. It is quite common in the wild, often being 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:

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.



Costa Rica-2
This sign outside a tour agency in Tortuguero National Park, Limón, which is advertizing jungle trips, has a white-headed capuchin and a great curassow as eye-catchers. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Costa Rica
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)




The mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata), comprising 5 subspecies, is widespread, distributed from south-eastern Mexico south to northern Peru. The golden-mantled howler monkey, ssp. palliata, ranges from extreme eastern Guatemala east 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.



Costa Rica-2
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)








The free city of Christiania in 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.



These pictures show graffiti on the wall around Christiania, and on one of its house walls. Besides voluptuous and beautiful women, Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro are shown. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




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




Cast-iron entrance gate, depicting a blacksmith, Vemmetofte, Zealand, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Fyn 2005-08
Fyn 2005-08
School windows, decorated by children, Lyø, Funen. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




In Denmark, Bronze Age rock carvings are mostly found on the island of Bornholm, in the Baltic Sea. The two pictures below are from Madsebakke, near the town of Allinge. Several other pictures, showing Bronze Age rock carvings, may be seen below, caption Sweden.



These rock carvings on Madsebakke show various items, including ships, sun images, bowl-shaped depressions, and footprints. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




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




Bornholm 2008a
These figures, depicting a man and two Dalmatian dogs, adorn a garden wall, Rønne, Bornholm. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Rock carving, depicting an eider (Somateria mollissima), created on a coastal rock on the islet of Christiansø, Bornholm, Denmark, by artist Aage Gitz-Johansen (1897-1977), who lived on the island for long periods of time. – You may read about the eider several places on this website, including the page Nature: Snow and ice. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Sjælland 2017
‘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)








Alperne 2018
Heart with a butterfly, constructed of wood, Thierstein, Bavaria. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




USA 1998-99
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)








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)




Colourful witch, 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)




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




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








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:

The popular name of this thin layer is desert varnish. Into this ‘varnish’, various prehistoric peoples around the world have created artwork by scraping off a part of the 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, depicting various subjects, including hunters, Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), birds, and stupas – testimony to bygone hunters and to Buddhists.



Ladakh 2009
Ladakh 2009
Ladakh 2009
(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




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




Lahaul-Ladakh 2014
No smoking! – Wall painting in the town of Keylong, Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




These carvings in a window opening in the city of Puri, Odisha (Orissa), depict 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)




Nordindien 1997
Street art: Figure, depicting Bhimsen, the Hindu god of trade, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. – Hindu mythology and gods are described on the page Religion: Hinduism. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




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








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). In Ubud, a local artist has made a number of sculptures, depicting these monkeys. Three are shown below.

Read about long-tailed macaques and many other monkeys on the page Animals: Monkeys and apes.



Bali 2015
Macaque, playing cymbals. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Bali 2015
This motorcyclist has been adorned with a marigold flower. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Pregnant female. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




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



Bali 2015
A friendly frog. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Bali 2015
A fearsome tiger. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Kitschy sculpture, depicting a Hindu mythological hero and his consort, Kintamani, Bali. Note the broken arms. – Hindu mythology is dealt with in detail on the page Religion: Hinduism. (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.



Sydøstasien 1975
House wall in the Batak village of Lingga, Sumatra, made from woven mats, which have been painted in vivid colours. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Bali 2015
Bali 2015
Kitschy souvenirs for sale, Ubud, Bali. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)








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








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




Alperne 2017a
Kitschy art at the Lesser Saint Bernard Pass, on the border between Italy and France: A Saint Bernard dog, made from gypsum or cement. In the background another sculpture, depicting a French police officer, complete with the red cap, the kepi. – The Saint Bernard dog is described on the page Animals: Animals as servants of Man. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Alperne 2017a
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, including old shoes, mice and gnomes, Passo Falzarego, Dolomites. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Alperne 2018a
A tragic story is hidden behind this kitschy painting 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, by some authorities regarded as a subspecies of L. nivale) is widely distributed, found in montane areas from the Pyrenees across the Alps to the Carpathians and the Tatra Mountains, southwards to the Balkans. Despite being rather non-descript, this species is one of the most beloved flowers of the Alps and the Balkans, being a national symbol of several countries: Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria.

In German, edelweiss means ‘noble white one’, and in the 19th Century it became a symbol of purity. Some even claimed that collecting this plant demanded great courage, which, of course, is pure nonsense, as it grows in alpine meadows and on slopes, and is thus very easy to collect. In his novel Edelweiss, from 1861, German novelist Berthold Auerbach (1812-1882) ridiculously exaggerates this difficulty by claiming that “the possession of one is a proof of unusual daring.”

This genus of the composite family (Asteraceae) counts about 58 species, most of which grow in Asia, a few species extending to Europe. The generic name is from the Greek leon (‘lion’) and podion (‘small foot’). It seems that to Scottish botanist Robert Brown (1773-1858), who named the genus, the fuzzy involucral bracts resembled a lion’s paw.

Three other species of edelweiss are presented on the page Plants – Mountain plants: Tibetan flora.



Alperne 2017a
This house wall in the village of Saint Rhémy, Aosta Valley, southern Alps, 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)








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








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








These ancient tribal rock paintings, which are found in the ‘Painted Cave’, Niah National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, depict people in boats. 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)








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)








“Look and decide!” – Along many trails in the Himalaya, you find interesting information boards, painted by local artists, showing hiking trails, mountains, rivers, villages, and a selection of the local wildlife. These three boards were all encountered in the Modi Khola Valley, Annapurna.



Annapurna 2007
This board depicts a Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), a leopard (Panthera pardus), and a creature, which is probably supposed to be a snow leopard (Uncia uncia), but rather more resembles a hybrid between a leopard and a tiger (Panthera tigris). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Annapurna 2007
This board depicts mountains, a dancing couple, and a pair of kalij pheasants (Lophura leucomelanos). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Annapurna 2007
This board depicts a pale-armed langur (Semnopithecus schistaceus), playing a tabla. – Langurs and many other monkeys are described on the page Animals: Monkeys and apes. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Sign in Kathmandu, advertising jungle safaris to Chitwan National Park. – This park seems to house enormous tigers! (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Annapurna 2007
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 Europeans 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 life-like, which is obvious if you compare with 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, in which 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)








Alperne 2018
A lustful guy, constructed of a spruce trunk and branches, Vrata Valley, Triglavski National Park. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Saint 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.



Alperne 2018
Mural in the village of Prtovč, Triglavski National Park, depicting the legend of Saint 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.



Sydafrika 2003
Painting, depicting jackass penguins (Spheniscus demersus) and gulls. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sydafrika 2003
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.

Usually, construction of a fortress atop Sigiriya has 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, however, 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 to me 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)




Sri Lanka 1974-75
This drawing, depicting a butterfly, sucking from a hibiscus flower, was made by a Sri Lankan village boy. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Sri Lanka 2015
This scarecrow, complete with shoes, scarf, and umbrella, was found in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Sri Lanka 2015
Wall painting, depicting street performers with a sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), Negombo. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)








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



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



Close-up of aurochs. Does one of them butt 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)




Sverige 2016-18
Decorated letter boxes, Pataholm, south of Oscarshamn, Småland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Sverige 2016-18
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)




Skandinavien 2001-14
Wood fairy, looking out from behind a tree, Öland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)








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)




Alperne 2017
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)




Alperne 2017a
Owl and boy – kitschy art in the village of Plan Cerisier, Rhone Valley. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)








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.



Taiwan 2017b
This wooden Chihuahua is used in a puppet show, performed by Phuket Marionette, a Thai puppet marionette group. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)








Tyrkiet 2018
Kitschy sculptures, depicting roosters, Kapalıçarşı (‘The Covered Market’), Istanbul. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Tyrkiet 2018b
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)




Tyrkiet 2018
Frog band, Istanbul. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Tyrkiet 2018a
Sculpture, depicting a fisherman with a gilt-headed bream (Sparus aurata), Mordogan, Karaburun Peninsula, near Izmir. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Tyrkiet 2018b
Tyrkiet 2018b
Folk art, made from an old scooter and rubber boots, Karapinar, east of Konya. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





United States



Californien 2013a
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)




USA 1998-99
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 in detail 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. Even though the horns are carved very slim, the petroglyphs cannot depict anything else but 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)




This sculpture near Alliance, Nebraska, made from scrapped cars, is called ‘Carhenge’. It is clearly inspired by the famous Stonehenge in England, a picture of which may be seen on the page Culture: Megaliths. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




USA 2016
Sign outside a pub in Old Portland, Maine, depicting a beautiful mermaid. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




USA 2012a
Huge sculpture, depicting the famous giant ape King Kong, placed on one of the buildings of the Hollywood Wax Museum, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Driving through California, I came across two storage places for hundreds of kitschy wood carvings, at Garberville and Leggett. The pictures below show six examples.



Californien 2013
Californien 2013
Native Americans. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Pinocchio and the fairy. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



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



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)



Carving, depicting a fight between a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and a mountain lion (Puma concolor). (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)




Giant sculpture, depicting a sailor kissing his girlfriend goodbye, San Diego, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




USA 2016
Kitschy art for sale, Old Portland, Maine. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Sculpture on a roof top in Mendocino, California, depicting 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, under India. Below are several examples from the western United States.


Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument is a rock panel, located in San Juan County, Utah, is carved with 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?).



Arizona-Utah 2001a
Arizona-Utah 2001a
(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Another collection of carvings, also called Newspaper Rock, comprising more than 650 images, is situated in Puerco River Valley, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. These images are a bit more stylistic than the ones in Utah. In the lower picture, a huge bird is possibly piercing a person with its scimitar-like bill.



USA 1992
Arizona-Utah 2001
(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




In the city of Haverhill, northern Massachusetts, I noticed two wall paintings and a kitschy sculpture.



Wall painting, depicting a boxing match. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



USA 2016
Kitschy sculpture. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Wall painting, depicting 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. Some examples are shown below.



This Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans), produced from a metal sheet, is 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 Nature: Urban nature. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



USA 2012
The wings of this flamingo are constructed in a way that makes them flutter in the wind. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



USA 2012
A rabbit, or maybe a hare, made from two boards. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)








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 November 2019)