111027-13 Navajo Yei Bei Chi and Dancers ; set of five by Tom W Yazzie
(Born 1930) A Navajo wood carver of seated genre Navajo figures, as well as groups of Yei bi chai figures undertaking ceremonial functions, Yazzie's work remains rather unique.
Tom Yazzie served in the U.S. Army between 1947 and 1954. During his off hours, he revived a childhood hobby by using his army-issue bayonet to carve wood. When he returned from Europe his friends encouraged him to begin carving seriously. The inspiration for Yazzie's works depicting Navajo life and ceremonies comes from his brother, a medicine man. He usually carves groups of people and dancers and adds found objects such as feathers and small stones to make them realistic.
The Yeibichai are supernatural beings who created the Navajo people and taught them how to live in harmony with the universe. This piece represents three Navajo dancers and Two Yei Bei Chi performing Nightway ceremony of the Navajos, in which a medicine man calls upon the power of the Yeibichai to heal someone.