UbuWeb Ethnopoetics : Visuals



Sand painting from the Bead Chant, a continuation of the previous image and narrative. Here Scavenger, while lured by promised gifts and besieged by flaming arrows, persists in his refusal. Rescue begins when groups of eagles and hawks carry him skyward in a black cloud but find the burden overwhelming. They ask assistance from sky snakes, whom they dress with feathers for the work to come.

The image shown here "shows the eagles assisted by the snakes. The snakes are angular and have on their bodies marks distinctive of the chant, a small square, the snakes’ house, and the two parallel lines or ‘eagle marks.’" On the screen, as on a book page, "figures seem to be lying on their sides, [but] it must be remembered that sand paintings are laid on the floor, and the audience looks down on them so that they are always in position."" (Thus Gladys A. Reichard, in Navajo Sand Paintings, 1939)

ethnopoetics visuals

ethnopoetics main