This week we are featuring a very special rug woven by Nellie Curley which she calls The Holy Ones, and in which she depicts the Navajo creation story.
Here is the rug:
The Navajos regard their homeland to be sacred because the Holy Ones led them here. They called it Diné Bikéyah (the land of The People).
The Diyin Diné’é (Holy Ones) created the Navajo people and brought them to this spot. Some believe the Holy Ones came from the underworlds and others say the Holy Ones were already here, inhabiting the land. They also created the Four Sacred Mountains in the four cardinal directions of Diné Bikéyah. Changing Woman, Asdzaan Naadléé, also known as White Shell Woman, is one of those gods called Holy Ones.
The Four Sacred Mountains are: to the East, Sisnajini (Blanca Peak); to the South, Tsoodził (Mount Taylor); to the West, Dook’óosłiid (San Francisco Peak); and to the North, Dibe Nitsah (Mount Hesperus). Within the Diné Bikéyah are two other sacred mountains; Dził na’oodiłii (Huerfano Mountain) and Ch’ooli’ii (Gobernador Knob).
On the rug you will see the Four Sacred Mountains, Diné Bikéyah and the middle mountain represents the Blessing Way ceremony. The medicinemen pictured within the sacred mountains are known as Hatałi (singers) of the Blessing Way (Hozhoji – blessed way or good way). The Hatałi or medicinemen are some of the most respected individuals. People often come to them for advice or guidance because they know the stories and the knowledge about the good life.
The corn represents the planting, the growth, and the harvest seasons. The Holy Ones use it to perform powerful ceremonies (prayers and songs). In the background is the “storm pattern” rug design representing Father Sky and the prayers that bring the rain to Mother Earth. You can see the Holy Ones among the sacred mountains.
The sash belt down the middle of the rug represents the time when a girl becomes a woman. With her are her siblings and her mother and grandmother. You can see that they are all dressed in traditional Navajo clothing.
Changing Woman stands with the people. She is the one who introduced the Navajo Clan System to help keep order and harmony among all the living, including people. The Navajo strive to live in Hozhó or harmony and to respect all life forms.
After the Creation was finished, the Holy Ones saw that all was beautiful and they blessed it all. Then they initiated the Blessing Way ceremony.
Nellie's rugs are always beautifully woven, and this one is no exception. It measures 58" x 40" and has wonderful detail and color. The price is $3000, and the catalog listing is #7893. This would be a truly unique rug to own, especially since it is accompanied with such a detailed description.
See this 2010 post for more information about the rug catalog.
Notes: Every effort has been made to photograph and present the rugs with as accurate rendition of color as possible. It's not possible, however, to be certain that your computer won't show some variance. Where two prices are listed in the catalog, the higher represents what the weaver hopes to receive and the lower, the minimum she will accept. As has always been the case at ANE all the proceeds of every rug sale go entirely to the weaver. Prices are set by the weaver, and since there is no "middleman" they are typically very reasonable.
And to see more of what's happening at ANE visit us on Facebook.