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Elder Trees

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Shan Goshorn
16” X 6.5” X 6.5” each (set of seven)
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint, silver foil, artificial sinew

This collection of seven Cherokee single-weave baskets is woven from reproductions of painted black and white photos by the artist of majestic trees. The photographs were deliberately taken from a ground perspective to emphasize the enormity of these sacred beings. These “old ones,” combined with the painted vast cosmos, are symbolic of ancient wisdom.

There are seven baskets in this set, a sacred number to the Cherokee representing seven directions - the four cardinal directions plus the Upper World, the Lower World and the Center. This demonstrates a deeper interconnection with what is above, below and here on this Earth and pays tribute to the following Kituwah (Cherokee) Prophecy printed on the interior splints:

“Long ago our elders said the Creator put us here in these mountains that we call the Ancient Cherokee Place. All the things that would be for our benefit the Creator prepared for us. Medicine and food lived here. The Creator taught us what to do for us to thrive here on the earth and for us to consider all things that lived here sacred. We called what the Creator had taught us, the Laws. We believed in these Right Ways and we were well as long as we followed these laws. The children were strong and healthy. What was medicinally beneficial to them grew everywhere and so did food. The Creator wanted all things to live well together, the animals and things of the water and the flying creatures and people. As long as they followed the laws, they would live well and in peace said the creator. The elders also spoke of a time that would come if we stopped believing in our laws. Our people would become lost and the children would not know their own language. Diseases would come and they would not know how to find the medicines to heal them. They will have forgotten what the Creator taught them. It will be a bad time for the people they said. However, a time of strength will come. The children, or the young people will revive the strength of the Kituwah people will be alive again. We see this happening they said. We are living in those times now.”

The interior color blend illustrates the relationship between the earth, the sky and the upper celestial realm. The remaining exterior splints surrounding the trees illustrate the vast cosmos representative of The Great Mystery. May these giant teachers inspire humility and respect for all spirit beings.

Photo credit Scott Miller Photography