Navajo – Native American Sand Painting – Framed – Signed – End Of Trail – c. 1990 – #2


This vintage Navajo sand painting was purchased from the artist in 1990.  It measures approximately 12.75″ square and is signed and dated (1990) by the artist on the back.

Unfortunately, I cannot make out the signature. It is titled “End Of Trail”

We offer several other Navajo sand paintings

Pictorial Tour of our Vermont Shop.

When purchased new from a Native Artist today, similar sand paintings start at $198 and go up from there.

Navajo Sand Painting is a symbolic representation of some portion of Navajo mythology and is a big part of the lengthy curing rites, sand paintings are used by most tribes in the Southwest. The Navajo Indians have developed the sand painting art to the greatest degree and have between 600 and 1000 separate sand painting designs.

According to Navajo spiritual beliefs, the Universe is a very delicately balanced thing. If this balance is upset, some disaster will happen, usually an illness.

To restore the balance and harmony requires performing one of the many Navajo chants or ways. These complex ceremonies involve many forms of healing medicine, including herbs, prayers, songs and Sandpaintings.

The sandpainting is done in a careful and sacred manner, according to the ancient knowledge of the art. As the patient is seated atop the completed the sandpainting, the medicine man bends to reverently touch a portion of the figure in the sandpainting, then moves to touch the patient, transferring the medicine and power.

As this is done the sickness falls from the patient and harmony to this Universe is restored. By tradition, before the sun sets, the sandpainting is erased using a sacred eagle feather which completes the ceremony. The patient rises and walks in the beauty of the Universe once again.


Native American sand paintings are a very beautiful and popular art form for collectors today.  But traditionally, the dry paintings are created to heal a person during a ceremony.  The type of image and ceremony used is determined by the illness or disease from which the person is suffering.  The sand painting may contain an image of the Holy People called yeibicheii.  The tribe medicine man may ask the yeibicheii to help him paint the image and therefore help heal the person in need.  The medicine man also checks the sand painting for accuracy as far as symmetry is concerned.  The more accurate the sand painting, the more healing it can do.

In some cases, more than one sand painting is used in a healing ceremony.  During the ceremony, the person who needs healing will sit on the Native American sand painting.  The sand painting serves as a portal for the spirits and through the painting, the person can absorb the healing energies from these spirits.

The sand paintings were not originally meant to be sold or hung on the wall.  Once the ceremony is complete, the sand painting must be destroyed, thus allowing the sand to return to the Earth.  This is necessary because the sand painting is now seen as toxic, having absorbed the illness, and must be destroyed.  The entire ceremony, from the painting to the destroying is usually completed within a twelve hour period.  The medicine man never wrote down everything that needed to be known to perform the healing ceremony, but rather it was passed down from generation to generation.

The Pueblo tribe was the first to create Native American sand paintings, but the art soon spread to the Navajos, Apaches, Tohono O’odhams, Zunis, and many tribes in Southern California.  Today though, it is the Navajo who are most active in creating Native American sand paintings.

It is believed that it was a medicine man by the name of Fred Stevens who was the first to create a Native American sand painting for sale in the 1950s. A trader in Box Canyon, Arizona by the name of Rex Bollin suggested to Fred that he sell a sand painting, since they were so beautiful.  However, Fred had to learn how to adhere the sand to the canvas.  To do this, he turned to artist George DeVille, who had been using sand in paintings for over 20 years.  There were problems initially, but after a while, they were worked out and Fred began selling his sand paintings.  Traditionally, the sands were of natural colored items like cornmeal and corn pollen, but today, artificial colors are often used to color the sand.  The sand paintings sold in the west today are very durable.  The sand used is not hand ground, but bought over the counter and applied through a tube.

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