We have a set of two Navajo Sand Paintings that are from Lynn's house in New Mexico. Often seen in pairs, this is Man & Woman. They are signed on the back.
Tribal leaders create sand paintings for the purpose of
healing, especially in the Navajo Tribe although the Hopi,
Zuni, and Plains tribes also practice the art of sand painting
and corresponding ceremonies that are integral to healing
Most tribes use crushed stone, flowers, pollen and other
natural items from the desert to create their design on
the ground. Some sand paintings are also created as art to
hang on walls.
Most art authorities concede that the Southwestern sand paintings produced by the Navajo are the intricate, complex and beautiful art-forms.
The Diné is the Navajo name for themselves and the term they use for sand painting is 'iikááh, which means a "place where the gods come and go."
Sand paintings are paintings made by sprinkling dry sands colored with natural pigments onto a board or the ground for ceremonial purposes to heal the sick. It is believed that sand paintings allow the patient to absorb the powers depicted in the grains of sand.
The pigment colors used by the Navajo are gathered in the surrounding desert. It is mostly colored sandstone which is then ground to form a fine powder. The colors are mostly red, brown, and ochre-yellow because these are the colors found in sandstone within the tribal areas. They usually include crushed charcoal which is mixed with sand to produce the color black. They sometimes us yellow cornmeal, pollen from plants, and crushed flowers to the sand painting.