SOLD Sandpainting - Nightway Whirling Logs : Historic : GHT 2227

This stunning snapshot from the Nightway healing ceremony is filled with meaning and symbolism.  It was featured in our Woven Holy People exhibit.  You can see the exhibit guide here

Symbolism of the Whirling Logs Sandpainting
from the Navajo Nightway Ceremony

After sacred Navajo ceremonies the sandpaintings that were created are destroyed. These beautiful images have been preserved by the hands of a master weaver.

In the weaving above, this image is of the Whirling Log sandpainting from the Nightway (also known as the Night Chant) Ceremony. This ceremony is used to restore harmony or health, repel evil and invokes the Holy People, or Yeis. It takes place over nine nights. The Whirling Log sandpainting occurs on the 6th night.

Surrounding the deities on the logs are 4 gods. The Humpedback Yeis on the left and right are so named because of the black bags they carry on their backs. They blow on the logs causing them to whirl about.

At the bottom of the weaving you see the House god. He is a peace keeper.

At the top, you will find the Talking god. He is the Yei-be-chei leader. His tall headdress of eagle tail feathers indicates great power and knowledge. He carries a medicine pouch in the shape of an animal. He guards the entrance of the weaving.

A Guardian Rainbow Yei Deity surrounds the weaving and prevents evil from entering on three sides.

For the Navajo, the directions start with the east at the top (as opposed to north) and continue in a sunrise (clockwise) direction. In sandpaintings and sandpainting weavings, the east is open to let in the dawn’s light.


This beautiful and one-of-a-kind weaving features all hand-carded, hand-spun, and hand-dyed native wool. The rich background is achieved using brown sheep’s wool over-dyed with black walnut hulls which gives the stunning variegated tones. It measures 4′ 10″ x 6′. It was made in the 1930s and is attributed to Marie Antonia, one the wives of Miguelito, a very prominent medicine man from the Ganado/Klagetoh area.

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Type: Sandpainting

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