Object photography

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Object description

  • Nathan Begaye (Hopi and Diné (Navajo), 1958-2010)
  • Yeh! Bichai, 1980s
  • Pastel, paper
  • Southwestern United States
  • H: 22 1/4 in, W: 30 in (H: 56.5 cm, W: 76.2 cm)
  • Gift of James and Margie Krebs, 2008
  • E303659


In this drawing, a male figure is shown from the shoulders up, dominating the page from top to bottom and right to left. The figure is bisected into two parts at the center. At the left, the figure faces outward, and has a human face with a mustache and a striped and triangle patterned shirt of purple and yellow. The background is a mixture of red and yellow colors. A bubble at the left reads 'Yeh! BICHAI'. At the right, the figure (a Navajo yeibichai ceremonial dancer) is seen in profile. His face is greenish blue and he wears a collar of spruce branches. The background appears to be a night sky, with a pattern of stars. A bubble at the right shows an image of geometric pattern and designs in purple and blue. There is a triangular pattern in the sky similar to that on the figure's shirt on the left. Further remarks: the title refers to the Diné [Navajo] Yeibichai (or 'Yeis') who are Holy People -- supernatural beings who created the Diné people and taught them how to live in harmony with the universe. Some Diné [Navajo] people hold a special healing ceremony, a 9-day event called the Nightway, in which Yeibichai are called upon to restore health and balance. Dancers dressed in masks and ceremonial clothing impersonate the Yeis.


Lee Begaye, Jr.