Sahmie, Ida – “Mother Earth” Tile
4" x 3"
This is a very traditionally inspired tile by Ida Sahmie. It is “Mother Earth”, which is a design often seen in sandpaintings. Here, Ida has painted it on a stone polished tile using natural clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black. Mother Earth is in the center with the four sacred plants and other imagery painted on the polished red surface. The face is etched. There is a band below the figure which as polished and etched sections. The tile was traditionally fired and it is signed on the back, “Ida Sahmie”. She is a daughter-in-law of Priscilla Nampeyo and Ida continues to make beautifully formed pottery with wonderfully complex designs. She has won numerous awards for her pottery at events such as Santa Fe Indian Market. She is the only Navajo potter creating this unique style of ethnographic pottery. The story of Father Sky and Mother Earth, and the Dine people is as follows:
“The Navajo people, the Diné, passed through three different worlds before emerging into this world, The Fourth World, or Glittering World. The Diné believe there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The Holy People are believed to have the power to aid or harm the Earth People. Since Earth People of the Diné are an integral part of the universe, they must do everything they can to maintain harmony or balance on Mother Earth. It is believed that centuries ago the Holy People taught the Diné how to live the right way and to conduct their many acts of everyday life. They were taught to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky and the many other elements such as man, animals, plants, and insects.”