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NAVAJO SAND PAINTING


The Navajo Indians live in the northeastern part of the state of Arizona in the United States. The Navajos have very strong traditions from centuries ago. One of these traditions is sand painting

There are rocks of many beautiful colors in this part of Arizona. A navajo sand painter finds rocks of several different colors. He grinds each rock into sand. Then he is ready to make a sand painting

He always makes the painting on the floor inside a small Navajo house. He takes some colored sand in his hand and puts it on the floor in a line. He changes to different colors and slowly makes a picture. Sand painting are very important to Navajos. Only a medicine man or a singer can make them. He knows how because his father and grandfather taught him.

The Navajos use sand paintings as part of their religion. They use them to help sick people. The singer always makes the picture exactly the same way. He does not make new pictures. He always makes the ones he learned from his father. Navajos believe that when the picture is finished, the person's sickness goes into the picture. Then the medicine man erases the picture from the floor. The picture and the sickness are gone

Navajos always welcome new ideas. They got sheep, horses, cows, and cloth from the spanish. They use the wool from their sheep to make beautiful rugs. In the 1880s they started using some of the pictures from sand paintings in their rugs. The pictures were similar to the traditional ones, but not exactly the same. The Indians always changed a color or a line. They would not use their religious pictures without changing them a little

In the 1930s the Navajos started making sand paintings to sell. They put the paintings on a board with glue, and sold the beautiful pictures to tourists. However, the pictures were always a little different from their religious pictures

Most Navajo Indians are poor. They raise sheep, but farming is difficult because the land is very dry. They have no factories, and it is not easy to find a job. They can earn a lot of money by selling their sand paintings. They still use sand paintings for their religion. However, the medicine man or singer never makes paintings to sell. Business and religion are always separate. Some Navajos think that they should not sell sand paintings because they are part of their religion. Other think that it is a good way to earn money, and they do not have many ways to earn money. People in other countries have similar problems. They do not like to use their religion and traditions to earn money, but sometimes it is necessary

Before 1930, no one except Navajos could see their beautiful paintings. Now everyone can see them in museums or buy them

Source : Concepts and Comments 

دسته ها : English Readings
سه شنبه دوم 12 1390 20:53
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