An important and prolific Navajo/Diné artist, Ernest Hunt created this sand painting on a slab of rock in 1975. The text that was hand written by Hunt on the back of the stone explains the figure on the front: "Navajo, Sand painting The Yei-Bei-Chai dancer, known here as a medicine man, Dancer to heal the sick." It is signed "Ernest Hunt 11-20-75." one of the earliest-dated of his paintings we've found.
According to the February 25 Phoenix, Arizona newspaper The Arizona Republic, "From the hard rock to the finished sand painting, the Ernest Hunt family works day and night, seven days a week in a modified assembly line. Their home-turned-studio at 17231 N. 26th Drive, Cave Creek, is manned by Hunt, his wife, five of their six children, a grandmother and daughter-in-law." They originally were from Sheep Springs, New Mexico, where they collected rocks from the foothills of the Chuska Mountains. Hunt used seven different natural colored rocks, finely ground, to make his sand paintings and originally made them on natural rock slabs like this one. Eventually he began making his sand paintings on the ubiquitous particle board, so it's a pleasure to present one of his works on a 1/2 thick rock slab, which complements the desert nature of the artwork. The final picture is a photograph of his shop in Cave Creek, where he sold his sand paintings and other fine Native American handicrafts.
This beautiful Navajo artwork measures 5 3/4 inches tall at the peak and 5 inches across the base. It weighs 1 pound and is in very good condition, with just some surface marks and a slight chip out of the stone on the lower right corner. It can be displayed alone on an easel or grouped with other artifacts. This hard to find example of an Ernest Hunt sand painting will become a family heirloom in the years ahead.
***The black on black vase shown in our photos is available here: