Rare Navajo Sandpainting Rug

We are thrilled to offer for sale a very rare and fresh-to-the-market Navajo sand painting  rug. The Navajo traditionally proscribe the replication of drawings in sand that are made by the medicine man at the height of a ceremony. These images are sacred and are destroyed at the end of the ceremony. It is believed that anyone who replicates them will suffer harm.

There were a very few Navajo weavers in the 1920s who began to weave textiles with these ceremonial designs, some to preserve the tradition and others in response to the strong demand by  the marketplace. The weavers usually altered a few of the details. As time went on and as weavers survived the marketing of these textiles, people began making what we know today as "yei" or "yeibichai" rugs. These images illustrate figures who appear in the ceremonial drawings but the pattern itself is not that of the actual sand paintings.

This textile illustrates the 8th day of the Nightway Ceremony. It is the only sand painting rug that we have seen that illustrates this ceremonial design, with the exception of a nearly identical sand painting rug in the collection of the Salisbury House in Des Moines, Iowa. The two rugs were likely woven by the same weaver or family of weaver. The Salisbury House textile is documented as having been commissioned from Ed Davies at Two Gray Hills, who delivered it to the collector in 1924.

To learn more, click this link: http://www.marcyburns.com/textiles-collection/navajo-sandpainting-rug