These pictorial rugs are based on ceremonial sandpaintings, and thus are considered somewhat controversial.
They portray the spiritual realm of the Navajo people. Depending upon the ceremony for which
the original sandpainting was made, these extraordinary weavings may show supernatural beings and their
magical implements, the spirits of the earth and sky, and powerful creatures and plants.
Common elements in sandpaintings include snakes, feathers, lizards, and whirling logs.
Sandpainting rugs are square. Their colors have a definite significance. Certain hues represent the
cardinal directions. Rainbows are red, white, and blue. The background is usually tan, like plain sand.
The area around Shiprock, New Mexico, is known for its Sandpainting rugs. A medicine man named Hosteen Klah, who
used real sandpaintings in curing ceremonies, is believed to have been one of the first people to weave them.