Artist: Mary Black

Materials: Sumac (Rhus trilobata)


Sandpainting Basket (c. 1990)

A breakthrough in Diné (Navajo) basket weaving, the design of this basket draws its inspiration from iikááh (sand paintings). Sand paintings use sacred images to heal and are an important part of Diné ceremonies. They must be precise in order to restore hózhǫ́ (balance and harmony) to a patient in their healing process. The daughter of a medicine man, Mary Holiday Black grew up seeing sand paintings. With this design, Mary innovates by capturing the color and balance of sand paintings on the sacred form of a basket. She places the healing warmth of the sun in the middle of her basket, its rays depicted by sacred eagle feathers. On opposite sides are sacred plants and two Yé’ii (Diné gods) in red and blue. Note their overstitched necklaces.