A wonderful rendition of the Yebechei dance, first dance of the evening in the nine-day Blessing Way ceremony. This is one of the most important in the array of Navajo ceremonial dances. It is associated with the restoration of harmony, which is the definition of healing for the Navajo, and often performed for a soldier returning from the war, an individual who has spent a significant time away from the reservation, or anyone in need of re-establishing the proper balance of spirit, mind and body.
As is customary, the dancers are shown in action, legs bent as they follow the leader to the rhythm of the drums and sound of the chanting. This extraordinary rug abounds in sharp detail, amazingly well- defined. Every point, every line, is as crisp as if drawn with a fine pen.
Another feature that distinguishes this rug, aside from the finesse of the weaving, is the subtle and most attractive color palette. Against a background of warm adobe tan, the white dancers stand out in wonderful clarity. With the exception of the blue necklaces around their necks, and the dark green sprigs of evergreens that each dancer carries, the colors are all natural fleece or plant dyed.
The hand-sheared, -washed, -carded, -dyed and -spun wool colors are as follows: dark brown, grey and white – natural fleece; black – pinon pitch over-dyed on the dark brown; rust – onion skin; light tan – rabbit brush & corn husk; turquoise – lichen; gold – rabbit brush; pink – wild holly berry; pale grayish kilt – white onion skin, and the rust-like red – cedar root. These plants were boiled in water to make the desired colors; natural grey results from spinning white and dark fleece together. We think the dark blue necklaces and green sprigs are aniline dyes.
With the astonishing definition in the weaving and rich, warm, mellow but bright, colors, this pictorial rug is beautiful to behold – now and for generations to come. And, it preserves an age-old tradition in its subject matter, as well.