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Navajo Weaving Art - Essay Example

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Relaying the story of the Navajo art of weaving which triumphed and transcended over the wear and tear of time evokes two distinct narratives on how it started and progressed. Navajo weaving could be told of both spiritual and temporal manner. The spiritual side tells that the Navajo people, like they believe, learned the art of weaving from the infamous Spider Woman, who weaved with the looms of "sky and earth cords with the weaving tools of sunlight, lightning, white shell and crystal" (Bernstein) by the command of the Spider Man (Explore the Navajo Nation), both Navajo deities while they were still in the underworld where weaving governs their activities…
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Navajo Weaving Art

Download file to see previous pages... The Insect People flew up into the second world, guided through a hole in the sky by a cliff swallow. The second world was a barren world inhabited by Swallow People. They decided to stay anyway, but after 24 days, one of the Insect People made love to the wife of the Swallow People's chief. They were expelled to the third world; the white face of the wind told them of an opening. The third world was a barren world of Grasshopper People. Again, the Insect People were expelled for philandering after 24 days. The red face of the wind guided them to the hole to the fourth world. This world was inhabited by animals and Pueblos, with whom the Insect People coexisted peacefully. The gods made people in human form from ears of corn, different colors of corn becoming different tribes. The Insect People intermarried with them, and their descendants eventually looked fully human. In time, the men and women argued and decided to live apart. But both groups engaged in unnatural sex acts, and eventually the women were starving, so they got back together. The gods were displeased by their sins, though, and sent a wall of water upon them. The people noticed animals running and sent cicadas to investigate. They escaped the floodwaters by climbing into a fast-growing reed. Cicada dug an entrance into the fifth world, which was inhabited by grebes. The grebes said that people could have that world if they could survive plunging arrows into their heart. The cicadas met this challenge (they bear the scars on their sides still), and people live in the fifth world today. (Terzoulin)

The Holy People marked their territories through the found mountains the put four sacred mountains in four different directions: Mt. Hesperus in the north, Mt. Blanca in the east, Mt. Taylor in the south, San Francisco Peaks in the west, which through their interaction with the Navajo people, shared with them the means and ways of doing everday activities in life, "in harmony" with Mother Earth. "The Dineh believe there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The earth People are ordinary mortals, while the Holy People are spiritual beings that cannot be seen. Holy People are believed to aid or harm Earth People." (Explore the Navajo Nation)

On the contrary, the temporal side, which is supported by several anthropologists, historians and artists proposes that the weaving was a skill acquired by the Navajo Didine (people) from their interraction with the Pueblo weavers during the mid-17th century. (Bernstein) Economic situations during the Navajo's transfer to Bosque Redondo at Fort Summer after Colonel Kit Carson induced an adoption of General Sherman of the US' "scorched death", which was then later called "The Navajo Threat", and their exposure to trade and tourists while having problems in earning salaries all contributed to the eventual change in their weaving culture and style. (Anderson) When the Navajo got rugged under the US, they experienced sudden ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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