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I purchased this wonderful framed sand painting in a consignment store about a year ago; have been thinking about listing it on eBay but can't yet part with it. The back has a hand written description: "Female Arrow Yei" and "Sand Painting -- This is the arrow people. It is use(d) to heal sick people. She is dress(ed) in different colors. This is made out of natural stone into sand. Made by Patsy Miller."
In researching Patsy Miller on the Internet I discovered that Patsy and her husband Francis were instructed in this art by Fred Stevens. Fred Stevens is described as the first Navajo artist to create sand paintings -- in Sheepspring, New Mexico in 1958.
This is quite large with the frame measuring 23" high and 17" wide. A foil label on the back reads "This was framed by the Fisher Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico."
That is a very nice piece of Art, I'm all about Healing people and having things like that around me. I've been sick now going on two years if you find out more I would like to talk to you about it, I need all the help I can get. Thanks KellyO
hi i found this, kelly sorry you are not well - will keep you in prayer
|Global Region||North America|
|Other Geographic Data||Town: Sheep Springs (north of Gallup)|
|Maker's Name||Patsy Miller|
|Date of Manufacture||ca. early 1960s|
|Collection Name||Elkus Collection (Native American)|
|Materials||Sand; Glue; Plywood|
|Description||Untitled sand painting depicting gray horned sun face with black and white eagle feathers suspended from the horns and from atop the face; Earrings are suspended from the base of each horn; Sun face is framed above and below by protective rectangular panels in gray, white, and rust brown; Background color is brown; The following is written in ink on reverse, "The Sun -- This painting is used for healing people that are sick. It [sic] color and design are made from natural color stones -- Patsy Miller."|
|Dimensions (cm)||Width = 12.9, Max Length = 17.6|
Thank You, but if you get like your go to sell please let me know Please. Thank
Mark and Kelly,
There is no such thing as an "authentic sand painting". What you have is an artist's rendering of what she thinks it should look like. Because she and her husband are Native Americans she uses that connection to sell these.
You say the first one was painted in 1958...actually the first one was painted thousands of years ago. AUTHENTIC sand paintings are not done by artists, but rather by Medicine Men. They are used in a ritual healing process that lasts for 2 hours. The MM draws the painting and when the ritual is over, DESTROYS it completely. It is against his rules to copy it or take a photograph of it.
The Yei people are tall and skinny because they are easy to weave. Many wool blankets contain Yei people.
The Sand Painters copy the Yei people from the wool blankets. It's a commercial business for the tourists. They use some colored sand, some ground seeds, ground glass, glitter and tiny beads in their paintings. The process is time consuming. Many people collect these paintings.
What the artist, Patsy Miller, says on Kathy's link about its healing ability is not true.
Here is a link to some Yei wool blankets made by the Navajo. On Line #1, Pic #2 is a single Yei Rug that sold for $1,300.
I understood that this and other similar sand paintings are modern artisans' interpretation of the authentic ritual Navajo practices, and that these current works are made for commercial distribution. Patsy Miller's note says that this yei is "used" for healing; I think she was referring "healing" to the spiritual quality of the yei itself and not necessarily to her artistic depiction of this yei.
The website Breach and Breathe http://breachandbreathe.blogspot.com/2009/11/navajo-country-and-san... has a comprehensive description of the origin of sand painting and the development of the "contemporary" art sand paintings done by Fred Stevens and Patsy Miller. The sand painting photo that Kathy posted shows a Patsy Miller work that is part of the Elkus Collection in the California Academy of Sciences. The CAS website describes the Elkus Collection as "Changing Traditions in Native American Art." I would suggest that the Museum appreciates the work as representative of the Navajo culture, and understands that "it is what it is." Would be willing to wager that the CAS would without question like to have my sand painting in their collection.
I don't think that Kelly understood that. She thinks that by owning the sand painting it will help therapeutically.
It's kind of like painting a picture of a hospital and saying, "people are healed here" and then hanging the picture of the hospital on your wall so that it can heal you.
About 3 months ago I was involved in the dedication and unveiling of a Navajo Sand Painting at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. Here is what is written about the subject.
And, if it works (it's on Twitter) here is the painting.
What an artist paints is her/his rendering. True and authentic Sand Paintings that can and do heal you are performed in the healing ritual by a Medicine Man. Following the ceremony the sand painting is destroyed.
Will an artist's rendering heal you? Who knows.
Yei people have been woven into rugs and blankets for years. The sand painters are copying them into their paintings. It's the thing that sells.