1. Sandpainting is a very old Southwest Indian Art in which the Medicine Man "paints" loosely upon the ground, or, on some occasions, upon buckskin or cloth, by letting the sands flow with control and skill through his sensitized fingers. He may use also, in conjunction with the sands of natural color, corn meal, flower pollen, powdered roots and bark, in the execution of this ritual.
The Medicine Man is an "Initiate" among his people, for his position has been earned not only through inclination, but after long years of apprenticeship.
Because of the sacred nature of this ceremony, the sandpainting is begun, finished, used, and destroyed within a twelve hour period, and is therefore virtually unknown except in the Southwest.
There are two definite types of sandpaintings, those that belong to the rhythm of the night and those that belong to the rhythm of the day. Nature behaves differently during the night, so man, like his brothers of the animal and the vegetable kingdoms, must do likewise. A sandpainting belonging to the night chant must be begun right after sunset and be made, used and destroyed before sunrise the following morning. A day sandpainting is begun at sunrise and finished, used and destroyed before sunset of the same day. (from the Introduction)