Male Navajo Figure

Media - 1986.65.342 - SAAM-1986.65.342_1 - 9976
Copied Charlie Willeto, Male Navajo Figure, ca. 1962-1964, carved and painted wood, 66 1416 1210 14 in. (168.342.026.1 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.342

Artwork Details

Title
Male Navajo Figure
Date
ca. 1962-1964
Dimensions
66 1416 1210 14 in. (168.342.026.1 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
  • Figure
  • Indian — Navajo
  • Figure male — full length
Object Number
1986.65.342

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.