PICTORIAL , YE'I, YE'I BI CHEI AND SANDPAINTING WEAVINGS
Navajo pictorial weaving has been a mirror of the Navajo experience, with the first documented mention of pictorial weaving in 1840. When the railroad reached Gallup, New Mexico, in 1882, its arrival was reflected in the appearance of a train in a weaving. American Flags, railroad cars and elements such as cattle, chickens, horses, eagles and 5-pointed stars soon appeared. Some of the most intriguing pictorials represent traditional elements of Navajo culture and spiritual life. In the 1920s and 1930s the powerful medicine man, Hosteen Klah, wove ceremonial rugs that were copies (purposefully not exact copies) of sandpaintings that were created and destroyed in the same day. Soon it was common to find Ye'i (Navajo Holy People) and Ye'i Bi Chei dancers portrayed on weavings. Isabel John, the most famous of the pictorial weavers, passed away when the automobile in which she was riding was hit by an intoxicated driver in December 2004. For more information on this wonderful weaver, click here. We have three of her weavings on our last Pictorial page.
For additional information and an article on pictorial weaving by Jackson Clark, click here.