Yei Foxtail Navajo Weaving : Historic : GHT 2168
This weaving was featured in the Woven Holy People Exhibit (2016). You can see the exhibit guide here.
Male and female Yeis, male Yeis have foxtails hanging from their waist. The date on the weaving tells us it was probably commissioned for the 1939 World’s Fair, as weaving demonstrations were often part of the World’s Fairs during this time.
It was not unusual for all Native American Indians to be invited to Fairs, Rodeos, or gatherings around the U.S. to demonstrate their talents, perform dances, and etc.
This is a very early Yei Be Chei weaving, depicting the Male & Female (Males round head, females square) Yei Be Chei Dancers with feathers, Rainbow Bars and the unusual stylized 1939 date woven in at the bottom.
The dancers are all wearing Jacla necklaces (highly prized by the Navajo as a symbol of prosperity) and medicine bags (the strap coming across their chest). The floating symbols above and below are called Rainbow Bars.
Rainbows are a symbol of all good things and happiness to the Navajo. These Yeis are surrounded by Rainbows (lot's of good luck). What is better in life, than a rainbow after a much needed storm in the arid southwest?! Water gives and renews life!
The white curly-q at the bottom left? It might be lightning, the letter R, or the weavers sign.
The date 1939 would indicate this was a piece commissioned for a special occasion and since the World's Fair was in 1939 we are attributing it to just that. Also, to back up this assumption there was a contest for weaving at the San Francisco World's Fair (held simultaneously to the NY Worlds Fair).
All hand-carded, hand-spun, and hand-dyed native wool.
|Style||Yei / Yei Be Chei|
|Weaver||Unknown Navajo - Lukachukai area|
|Size||76″ x 43″ (6'4" x 3'7")|
|Item #||GHT 2168|
|Learn more about Yei and Yei Be Chei weavings|
A unique blend of history, Native American culture and storytelling make these weavings an art like no other.