Artist: Eleanor Rock

Materials: Sumac (Rhus trilobata)


Placing the Stars Basket (1994)

In Placing the Stars, Eleanor Rock portrays a favorite Diné (Navajo) story about Áłtsé Hastiin (First Man) and Ma’ii (Coyote) who had different approaches to arranging the stars in the sky. First Man, in a red shirt with his arms reaching out, places his stars with order and care. On the other side, Coyote flings the stars and lets them land where they may. Eleanor places her figures against a black and white background reflective of the principle of duality central to Diné culture. First Man’s orderly constellations float amid Coyote’s jumbled Milky Way. Do you see the Big Dipper or Scorpio on the horizon between day and night? This was one of the first designs Twin Rocks Trading Post co-owner Barry Simpson suggested to basket weavers as he encouraged them to create baskets depicting Diné stories. It is now considered a “classic.”