History of sand paintings


The main dancer from the sand painting “The song of the sun creation”, used by the Medicine men of the Navajo Red Indians from the USA.



Sand is colourful.


Sand painting has an ancient history and probably originated in the Far East countries of Tibet, Nepal and possibly India. The Aboriginals in Australia and the Red Indians of the USA claim custodianship of the origin of sand paintings.

The better known sand paintings of the Red Indians of the USA (Mostly the Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo and Zuni, dates back some 2000 years. Sand painting Ceremonies were conducted by the Medicine men only. They had power to bring rain, heal the sick and to ensure a good harvest. In 1910, a chief felt his magic was strong enough to give his tribal members the power to translate the sand painting designs onto their weaving. In 1949 David Valisinor started using cold wood glue to fix the sand to board. On this method he based a how to do sand painting kit. Many Navajo artists used this method . (Fred Stevens -grey squirrel-, Francis Miller, James C Joe and many others.

Sand is not commonly known as a medium for painting. Many modern day artists “discover” this medium and believe that they originated a new medium or art form. The International School of Sand Art was established to serve as a school were knowledge and skills for this art form are developed and promoted.