A set of Navajo prayer sticks
Lot 4005
A set of Navajo prayer sticks
Sold for US$ 5,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
A set of Navajo prayer sticks
Lot Details
A set of Navajo prayer sticks
Jeweled Arrows of the Sun, consisting of five hollow or solid sticks wrapped in colored yarns, attached over these a myriad of shells, cut turquoise, beads of coral and jet, heishi, small hide pouches, an arrowhead, and two animal effigies.
height (as mounted) 16 1/4in


  • Provenance:
    Richard Corrow, Apache Junction, Arizona, from a family near Inscription House, Arizona, 1980, and shown as acquired.


    The myth of the making and use by Navajo Chanters of these remarkable and powerful, bundle-specific, talking prayer sticks was acquired by the Holy Twins from their father the Sun. Highly embellished, these arrows imply long usage by the many attached "jewels," as at least one bead should be included as part of the patient's payment to the Chanter when employed in Navajo healing ceremonies. The various beads on these arrows indicate their vintage, probably as early as circa 1920.

    The arrows are three hollowed shafts of reed from Oraibi and Taos, and two sticks of mountain mahogany and lightning-struck scrub oak. Tiny medicine/protection bundles are attached mid-shaft just below where Eagle plumes were once fastened. The cane arrows contain various sacred objects and the solid arrows faintly show faces on their distal ends. The bead wrappings are turquoise, abalone, white shell and jet stone, further embellished with early Hubbell trade beads. Many of the beads and probably the fine coyote fetish, could well date from the Anasazi period, the horse fetish later. The handspun yarn is wound with buffalo blood and sinew, mountain lion tail sinew, and cotton cord, bound with lightning-struck pitch and covered with pollen and specular ore.

    Richard Corrow
    October, 2012
  1. Jim Haas
    Specialist - Native American
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, 94103
    United States
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