Unknown Navajo/Diné weaver created this sand painting rug (last quarter-20th century) depicting detail from a four-directions Yei (holy people) and corn pattern sand painting. The rainbow protection opens on the East side in the weaving and when sand paintings are built during ceremonies. Created from natural colored brown wool and other wools colored with natural and aniline dyes. Other colors include rich tones of salmon, brown, white, pumpkin, teal, mustard, royal blue, and robin's egg blue. Size: 55.5" W x 43" H.
History and meaning: Navajo sand paintings, also called dry paintings, are believed to be "places where the gods come and go" in the Navajo language. They are used in curing ceremonies in which the gods' help are requested for harvests and healing. The figures in sand paintings are symbolic representations of a story in Navajo mythology. They depict objects like the sacred mountains where the gods live, or legendary visions, or they illustrate dances or chants performed in rituals. When depicted in a rug, they are frequently created as memory aids to the shaman chanting as he builds the sand painting during the ceremony. The weavers creating sand paintings must receive permission and blessings before she or he is allowed to create this type of weaving. The Navajo refer to themselves as “Diné” or “the people”.
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Navajo/Diné Rug, Western Reservation Sandpainting