TENT   |   SHADOW   |   BAH-HAS-TKIH

THE TIPI

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Room 13.
Monument Valley, Arizona, USA | Now

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In the heart of the Navajo ancestral lands (Navajo: Diné), Agathla Peak (Navajo: Aghaałą́, Spanish: El Capitan) stands like a sentinel at the southern gateway to Monument Valley, Arizona. It is one of many volcanic diatremes found in Navajo country and upon the lowest heights of this eroded volcanic breccia lies the tall white shape of a Native American tipi.


Overlooking State Highway 163 and a few miles north of Kayenta, here is the 1970s tent home of a traveller and his Amerind shaman passing through this inspiring landscape in search of enlightenment. The Navajo believe that the Holy People instructed them never to leave the land between their four sacred mountains geographically situated in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.


The construction of Bah-Has-Tkih (Navajo; the lost room; lit. ‘secret camp’) is sacred, symbolising the Diné lands: the posts represent the sacred mountains, the floor is mother earth (earth; kay-yah, sea; tal-kah), and the roof is father sky (sky; nilchi). The entire structure represents the journey from earth to the spirit world; the link between man and Wankan-Tanka, the Great Mystery.

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© Photography: GilesG Photography/Gavin Conlan   

Great Dunmow, Essex, England

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