Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Navajo creation story
  • Herbert Ben Sr.
    active: United States
  • Navajo creation story, 1974
  • Where object was made: Shiprock, New Mexico, United States
  • pressboard, sand, pigment
  • Object Height/Width: in frame 70.5 x 70.5 cm
    Object Height/Width: in frame 27 3/4 x 27 3/4 in
  • Gift from the Security Benefit Group of Companies
  • Not on display
  • 2007.6195
Multimedia
Description
Inscriptions/Signature

The square piece of pressboard has sand adhered. It has a brown field with a white circle in the center. The circle is outlined with dark yellow and dark yellow lines extend to the left and right, each ending in a white cross. White lines extend above and below the center circle, each ending in a yellow cross.

The upper proper right quadrant has two katsina figures, each with legs bent forward, as if sitting. The proper right figure has a rectangular white head with feathers in dark yellow, blue, black or white. The red arms are raised to either side of the head. It has a red and white horizontal striped torso and a red and dark yellow kilt with a white and black feather. It has white legs. The proper left figure has a round white head with red, black, blue, and white feathers. The arms are bent to one side of the head. The arms and torso are dark yellow with red or white diamonds. It has a blue kilt with a dark yellow and red design. It has white legs. There is a black circle with one white edge and yellow detail between the figures. There is a blue star with a red, white, and blue rainbow below the figures. Blue crosses are scattered at the bottom of the quadrant.

The upper proper left quadrant has a light brown circle with three short lines to indicate a face in the upper proper left corner. There are three white and black feathers at the top, three dark yellow and black feathers at the bottom, three red and black feathers at proper left and three blue and black feathers at the proper right. There is an upside down four legged brown animal, possibly a dog, with a long tail and pointed ears in lower proper right portion of the quadrant. A red, white, and blue rainbow separates the face and the animal. There are blue crosses scattered in the lower proper left portion of the quadrant.

The lower proper left quadrant has a stylized bird figure with its wings spread in the upper proper right portion of the quadrant. It is white with black detail on the head, red and black stripes on the wings and dark yellow and black on the tail. There is a blue circle with three lines for a face in the lower proper left portion of the quadrant. There are three feathers on each side of the face like the one above. A red, white, and blue rainbow is below the bird figure and blue crosses are scattered on the upper proper right side of the quadrant.

The lower proper right quadrant has a black katsina figure. His head is a semicircle with two red and black feathers and a white feather. He has white zigzags on his arms and white dots on his torso. He has a red kilt with dark yellow and white detail. There are orange lines on the black legs. There is a circle to the proper right of the figure, divided into five wedges: two white, one blue, one brown, and one orange. There is a red, white, and blue rainbow on the proper right. Scattered blue crosses are in the upper proper right portion of the quadrant.

It is currently framed in a brown wood frame with white paint on the most prominent point. It has a light brown linen-like mat.