Navajo Symbols and Motifs Meaning

Many Navajo symbols and motifs were drawn and woven on blankets, clothing and many other commodities. Additionally, our pieces at Fang Jewelry have these motifs that are common in the Navajo community. Below, you will read about their significance and how they came about.

Triangle and Diamonds

Two of the earliest Navajo symbols and motifs were triangles and diamonds. Many Navajo women would say diamonds was a symbol of Dinétah, the traditional Navajo homeland. The four corners symbolize the homeland that’s marked by four sacred mountains.

Furthermore, triangles are basic fundamental Navajo designs. The usage of the shape can represent many things. If placed on top of each other, the triangles become prayer feathers.

Gold Etched Ring

Lightning Motifs

One of the most powerful Navajo symbol and motifs is lightning. This is depicted as “zig-zags” on many commodities.

The meaning behind lightning traces back to the Thunderbird which was associated with honesty, truth, and morality. The symbols relate because the Thunderbird is believed to have struck lightning from its eyes.

Also, when it came to woven pieces, lightning played a crucial role. Lightning helped make tools to weave which is pivotal in their culture.

The Whirling Log

The whirling log became controversial in the late 1930s. In that event, it raised questions because it is a swastika. Since a negative connotation became associated with the symbol, many Navajos stopped doing the design after that period.

Although, the ideology behind the whirling log is more positive than what it has become. The whirling log represents abundance, prosperity, good luck and healing.

Silver Feather Necklace

The Spirit Line

In the 1900s, the “spirit line” became a common Navajo design. However, this deals with woven items. The “spirit line” was a border placed around the woven design. It became a common Navajo custom because many traders requested it.

The design is a strand of yarn that contrasts the inner design color that goes from the inner design element to the border.


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