Dating navajo rugs

Garments-especially wearing blankets-comprised most of the products of early Navajo looms.Traditional, Native-made blankets were wider than long (when the warp was held vertically) and were known as mantas.Are you attracted to the beauty and craftsmanship of Navajo rugs but confused by all the terminology being thrown around in the galleries?Here’s a brief history of Navajo weaving that will help you sort out the most common terms, and give you a head start when you venture out to shop for these fascinating examples of Native American art.During the last two decades of the 19th century, most Navajo blankets were woven of spongy, loosely spun yarns most frequently dyed with aniline reds, oranges and yellows.Beside the chief’s blanket mantas, two types of serape blankets predominated in this period.

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A more complicated type of design was derived from Hispanic Saltillo serapes which featured brightly colored patterns of serrated diamond shapes.These early weavings made before the 1870s are very rare, bringing tens of thousands of dollars-or more-from collectors and museums.The so-called Chief’s Blanket is a specific style of manta that went through a distinct design evolution.Anglo-style coats and dresses were replacing wearing blankets as the clothing of choice among Native peoples.Increased difficulty and declining demand took its toll on both the weavers and their product.

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