Navajo sandpaintings are intricate, beautiful representations of legends, stories and Yeis--supernatural beings from the Navajo religion. Composed entirely from fine sand ground from a palette of colored rocks, sandpaintings are an ancient art form still used today by the Navajo during their ceremonies.


THERE ARE MANY STEPS involved in creating a sandpainting. First, colored rocks are gathered from the far corners of the Navajo lands, locations that are often a closely guarded secret. After the rocks have been thoroughly dried, they are ground by hand and sifted into fine sand. Paints, artificial dyes, or other coloring agents are never found in true Navajo sandpaintings.

THE PAINTINGS ARE DONE ON a board that has been prepared with a layer of sand as a background, and the design is often scratched lightly into the background color. Using a fine brush and thinned white glue, the painting process begins.

A SMALL AREA IS painted with the glue, and placing a pinch of sand in his palm, the sandpainter allows a tiny bit to trickle out from the bend of his index finger using his thumb to regulate the flow. Too much sand or an uneven flow will result in distorted or uneven lines. The excess sand is tapped off and the process repeats, using one color at a time, until the painting is completed.

SANDPAINTINGS CLELBRATE the connection of man and nature. Symbols such as the four sacred mountains, eagle feathers, the four sacred plants, Father Sky and Mother Earth, or the beautiful Rainbow Yeis combined with colors representing the four directions result in a timeless work of art uniquely created for you by an accomplished Navajo sandpainter.