UbuWeb Ethnopoetics : Visuals


Sand painting from the Bead Chant. The underlying narrative centers around One-who-goes-about-picking-up-discarded-things, also called Scavenger. Taken captive and enslaved by hostile Pueblo Indians, he is hoisted by them into a high eagle’s nest, to throw down young eagles and to be left there to die. Forewarned by the gods he ascends but refuses to throw the birds down. Thereafter he is protected and nurtured by the parent eagles.

Writes Gladys A. Reichard: "The [present] painting depicts the scene of the Scavenger in the nest of the eagles. The large blue circle is the house, blue because it is in the sky. The black line around it represents darkness; the white is dawn or morning light; the yellow, evening light; and the red, protection from danger. Within the circle, Scavenger is shown with the accouterments which distinguish him throughout the chant." The description by Reichard goes on to discuss other segments of the painting in great detail. (From Gladys A. Reichard, Navajo Medicine Men Sand Paintings, 1939, 1977)

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