Joseph Begay is a full blooded Native American Indian
born into the Navajo Nation in 1964. He learned the art of carving on
stones from his friend, Jeff Lewis. Joseph began carving on stone at
the age of 22. The lucrative aspect of the business played a key roll
in him becoming an fine artisan. It is his primary resource of income
to support his family.
Joseph works with natural materials found through out the southwest.
The materials that he primarily carves from are: alabaster, serpentine,
picasso marble, jet, dolomite, amber, argyte, and sillonite. His distinctive
animals include life-like representations of bears, turtles, eagles,
coyotes, buffalos, and several others. His carvings are enhanced by
either a solid or multi-color inlaid heartline or a prayer bundle containing
arrows, feathers, and heshi that he places on the backs of his carvings.
Joseph is proud and honored to be artistically gifted with this special
talent. He is also extremely enthusiastic about sharing his carvings
with all who respect and appreciate his artistic abilities and his cultural
He signs his
Badger-ability to reach a desired goal
Bear- strength, inner power to perceive ones present circumstances.
Beaver-progressive builder, one who pr omotes family unity.
Buffalo-steadfast endurance ot rise above one’s weakness
Coyote-ability ot laugh at one self, humor
Eagle-a soaring spirit that transcends personal problems, a connection
to the divine.
Frog-able to petition the spriits to bring forth abundant rain.
Horse-one of only two fetishes that have innate healing powers.
Mountain Lion-leadership, resourcefulness.
Ram-Used to procure an increase of herds.
Raven-this bird’s beak is scratched across an afflicted person’s
skull releasing its healing powers.
Turtle-a symbol of long, meaningful life.
Wolf-teacher, path finder on the never ending journey for survival.