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South Mountain, Mount Taylor

Harrison Begay

About The South Mountain, Mount Taylor

On December 2, 1977 Harrison Begay wrote the following about his series of paintings depicting the legend of the cration of the four Sacred Mountains.

"The legend of the creation of the 4 Sacred mountains.  After Kisani (Pueblo Ind.) Navajo First man and First woman set ou to build the seven sacred mountains of the present Navajo land.  They made them of earth which they brought from similar mountains in the 7th (under)world.  The four most important were Bianca Peak in the east, Mountain Taylor in the South, San Francisco peak in the West and Hesperus Peak in the North.  Other also sacred little mountains were Huerfano Mountain, Goberador Knob, and Hasta Butte in the middle of the four Navajo mountains also.

South Mountain Mount Taylor, the mountain of the south, they fastened to the earth with a great stone knife, thrust through tom top to bottom.  They adorned it with turquoise, with dark mist, she-rain, dark dorn and all different kinds of wild animals and plants. On its summit they placed a dish of turquoise, in this they put two eggs of bluebird, which they covered with sacred buckskin.  The Boy-who-Carries-One-turquoise and the Girl-who-Carries- One- Grain- of- Corn were put into the mountain to dwell."

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Description

On December 2, 1977 Harrison Begay wrote the following about his series of paintings depicting the legend of the cration of the four Sacred Mountains.

"The legend of the creation of the 4 Sacred mountains.  After Kisani (Pueblo Ind.) Navajo First man and First woman set ou to build the seven sacred mountains of the present Navajo land.  They made them of earth which they brought from similar mountains in the 7th (under)world.  The four most important were Bianca Peak in the east, Mountain Taylor in the South, San Francisco peak in the West and Hesperus Peak in the North.  Other also sacred little mountains were Huerfano Mountain, Goberador Knob, and Hasta Butte in the middle of the four Navajo mountains also.

South Mountain Mount Taylor, the mountain of the south, they fastened to the earth with a great stone knife, thrust through tom top to bottom.  They adorned it with turquoise, with dark mist, she-rain, dark dorn and all different kinds of wild animals and plants. On its summit they placed a dish of turquoise, in this they put two eggs of bluebird, which they covered with sacred buckskin.  The Boy-who-Carries-One-turquoise and the Girl-who-Carries- One- Grain- of- Corn were put into the mountain to dwell."

About the Artist

(1917-2012) Harrison Begay was born in 1917 and educated at various schools on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona. Santa Fe Indian School and at Phoenix Junior College. He served in the U. S. Army in World War II.

Harrison Begay had paintings included in the collections of the Southwest Museum in Pasadena California, the famed Philbrook Art Center, the Gilcrease Museum and the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona to name a few.

One of the best known Navajo painters, Begay's watercolors are known for their delightful colors as well as their charming detail and strong sense of design. Begay is a conservative traditional painter whose work depicts an idealized manner of every segment of Navajo life. In the 1950's Begay co-founded Tewa Enterprises in Santa Fe to sell silkscreen reproductions of his work. Allan Houser, Pop Chalee and Gerald Nailor also sold reproductions through Tewa Enterprises.

Begay was awarded the French Palmes d’Academiques in 1954 and has exhibited worldwide to include a solo exhibition in Japan in 1989. His work is cited in The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters by Patrick D. Lester, The St. James Guide to Native North American Artists, American Indian Painting by Dorothy Dunn, Southwest Indian Painting by Clara Lee Tanner, American Indian Painters by Oscar Jacobson and Jeanne D’Ucel plus another five plus books focused on Native American artists. Harrison Begay's work was included in the exhibit "Beautiful Resistance: Works on Paper from the Heard Museum Collection" May 22 - December. 2005.

Medium Gouache (opaque water-based paint) on paper
Sight size 20 3/4" height X 28 1/2" width
Frame Multiple mat boards, metal sectional molding and Plexiglas
Frame size 28 3/4" height X 36 1/2" width
Signed "Harrison Begay" at viewer's lower right, "Haskay Yahne Yah" at viewer's lower left
Date of creation Circa 1990
Condition Excellent, as appeared framed, glazed
Provenance Be St
Other Works by Harrison Begay
Pair of Paintings: Navajo Boy and Girl with Lambs, Paintings by Harrison Begay Picking Corn Pollen, Paintings by Harrison Begay Very Early Harrison Begay painting, Paintings by Harrison Begay
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