Harmony and Balance: Pattern in Native American Art


November 12 - December 21, 1997
Image: Basketry Tray. Southwestern United States, Arizona or New Mexico region, Western Apache people, late 19th or early 20th century. Coiled willow or cottonwood stitched with willow and devil's claw, 4 x 19 3/4". Gift of Nancy, Lady Astor, 1937.5.41.


The Navajo people say to "walk in beauty" is to live in harmony with the earth and to balance all the elements of one's life, thus reflecting the values of one's culture. Pattern in Native American art is not simply the repetition of line and color to create designs; it illustrates cultural values. In the hands of the artist, pattern interprets environment, religion, personal status, and achievement. In societies that rarely separate religion from daily life, traditional patterns both beautify objects and provide a harmony between the everyday and ceremonial uses of an object.

In these baskets from the American Southwest, beaded bags from the Great Lakes and Plains regions, carvings and weavings by people of the Northwest Coast region, and Pueblo pottery on loan and selected from the Museum collection, the rich and varied patterns of American Indian cultures affirm their long and skilled traditions.

On Saturday, November 22, Junior Girl Scouts from the area will participate in a special program at the Museum designed to complete their Native People of the USA merit badge. Call 293-2948 for more information.


Images and Text Copyright, 1997
The Rector and Visitors of the
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Bayly Art Museum
University of Virginia
Rugby Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903