Indiana University Indiana University IU

Culture Diné (Navajo)
Title Yei Rug
Date Early–mid 20th century
Medium Wool and dye
Dimensions Object: 59 1/2 × 31 1/8 in. (151.1 × 79.1 cm)
Overall: 59 1/2 x 31 1/8 in. (151.1 x 79.1 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Henry R. Hope, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 63.33

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About this Work

For the Navajo, Yei are the Holy People often called upon through sandpaintings used during healing ceremonies. These sandpaintings depict both Yei and mythological events and are destroyed after the completion of the ceremony. Not all figures that are depicted in Navajo weavings are Yei, some weavings present dancers or references to mythological stories.

Figures first appeared in Navajo weaving in the 1860s, and, while Yei rugs are often based upon or inspired by sandpaintings, they are not religious objects and were never used for ceremonial purposes. These rugs are instead created purely for the tourist and art markets, with figures and scenes adjusted slightly so as not to offend the Holy People by depicting them in a more permanent medium. This rug is typical of the Shiprock style, with its light background, lack of a border, and the presence of a rainbow deity across the bottom and sides of the rug.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Yei Rug | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.