Female Navajo Figure

Media - 1986.65.385 - SAAM-1986.65.385_1 - 10026
Copied Charlie Willeto, Female Navajo Figure, ca. 1962-1964, carved and painted wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.385

Artwork Details

Title
Female Navajo Figure
Date
ca. 1962-1964
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
66 1216 1414 14 in. (169.041.336.2 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson
Mediums Description
carved and painted wood
Classifications
Keywords
  • Indian — Navajo
Object Number
1986.65.385

Artwork Description

Charlie Willeto was born in Diné Bikéyah, the homeland of the Diné, or Navajo, and was trained as a tribal healer or medicine man. His carvings were all done in the last few years of his life. They began as elements of a healing ritual, which used doll-like carvings to carry illness away from the afflicted. By making his figures, Willeto challenged a tribal taboo against figural representation in art, but he eventually earned his reputation as a powerful healer and bringer of change. This pair is Willeto’s sole example of life-sized figures; most of his carvings are under thirty inches tall.