Dynamic Symmetry and Holistic Asymmetry: In Navajo and Western Art and Cosmology

Dynamic Symmetry and Holistic Asymmetry: In Navajo and Western Art and Cosmology

by Gary Witherspoon, Glen Peterson
     
 

This book explores the aesthetics of Navajo weaving, sandpainting and silverwork in the context of Navajo language, cosmology and history. The aesthetic style of the Navajo, described as dynamic symmetry and holistic asymmetry, is also explored in the context of modern western art and science.

Overview

This book explores the aesthetics of Navajo weaving, sandpainting and silverwork in the context of Navajo language, cosmology and history. The aesthetic style of the Navajo, described as dynamic symmetry and holistic asymmetry, is also explored in the context of modern western art and science.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«At a time when we study differences more than similarities, this text points to areas of shared concern and offers a basis for synthesis and comparison between the Navajo and Western aesthetics. Authors Witherspoon and Peterson, both uniquely qualified because of their long and intimate association with the Navajo people, offer a remarkable contribution to our mutual understanding. I found especially rewarding Peterson's astute comparison of Navajo art to contemporary American art.» (Harold Gregor, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Art, Illinois State University)
«Here in one volume is an encyclopedic treasure trove of profound but clearly stated explanations of the interrelated components of traditional Navajo culture, followed by succinct and penetrating analyses of related scientific and artistic phenomena in the modern world. These are augmented by richly detailed descriptions of Navajo language, customs, religion, and art. A truly important contribution to the literature of the Navajos, the arts, and the sciences.» (Howard Somers Conant, Ed.D., Practicing artist and former head of the art departments of New York University and the University of Arizona)
«As Diné (Navajo) artists, most of us know either consciously or unconsciously that our symbols and patterns, found in visual art or moving in dance, song and prayer, derive from the Diyin Dine'é (Holy People). I find this study intriguing and insightful, and I hope it will stimulate Diné artists to re-think the sacred foundations of our aesthetics. We, too, need to study and discuss the cultural heritage and sacred contexts from which our art and aesthetics emerge.» (Gloria Emerson, Diné artist, Director of the Center for Research and Cultural Exchange, Institute of American Indian Arts, Sante Fe, NM)
Booknews
Explores the relationship between the cultural roots of the Navajo and the aesthetic forms and styles in their sandpainting, weaving, and silverwork. Finds in the work a symmetry of the whole derived from the fundamentally asymmetrical Holy Pair embodied in the Changing Woman, and shows how that pattern is observable in other modern art and science. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820418605
Publisher:
Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/01/1995
Series:
American Indian Studies Series, #5
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
192

Meet the Author

The Authors: Gary Whitherspoon is Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at the University of Washington.
Glen Peterson is Professor of Art at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona.

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