Featured Help w/ID for Small Navajo Weaving

Discussion in 'Tribal Art' started by Jim Goodykoontz, Apr 17, 2024.

  1. Jim Goodykoontz

    Jim Goodykoontz Active Member

    hi everyone. i have this little Navajo weaving that i guess would best be described as a "sampler." it measures 30" long and 26.25" wide on one end and 24.75" wide at the other end, so it's probably too small to be a saddle blanket. i want to sell this piece and i'm wondering what's the best way to describe it? how old is it. The weaving is pretty tight with smaller knots, so i'm assuming it's a bit older, maybe 20s or 30s. i'm hoping someone can help with maybe a name for this design, style or origin. any help will be greatly appreciated...thanks, jim
    sampler_ful.jpg saddle_1corner.jpg saddle_1top.jpg
  2. Potteryplease

    Potteryplease Well-Known Member

    Looks great Jim! I'll take it! :D

    I don't think it's as old as that-- weavings that 'tight' have been and continue to be made. I'd guess more 70's-80's.

    I don't know a good term for it but would shy away from 'sampler' as that has connotations that don't exactly apply in this cultural context. It was made for tourists, for sale. But it's a great piece and has good value in my opinion. Other may (will!) know more.
  3. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    I'd be sure to check the side edges, to be sure that they are not composed of a thicker yarn (3 or more ply) than the rest of the rug. The reason is, that usually when you see these braided tassels in the corners, tied off at the ends, it's a sign that it was woven on a floor loom, rather than a Navajo loom. It's hard to tell from the photos, if this has the tell-tale thick edges, which authentic Navajo rugs lack.

    Nor do the Navajo braid the tassels or tie them off at the ends, but that could have been done by a former owner, who didn't know.

    I'd agree that it's from the 1970s or '80s, and too small to be a saddle blanket. As to the design, aside for the Storm Pattern, Yei and Yeibechai, most Navajo rugs don't have names for the patterns or styles, they are simply the creation of the weaver.

    They used to be named after the nearby trading posts. as "Regional Style rugs" but with the increased transportation available, and resulting contacts between weavers, rugs of any style could be from any region of the reservation. The popularity of red and black is usually associated with Ganado, however.
    reader, Any Jewelry, sabre123 and 3 others like this.
  4. Jim Goodykoontz

    Jim Goodykoontz Active Member

    thank you both for your help. i was focused on the quality of the weaving, and assuming that because it was nicer and was tighter, with more detail, that meant it was older. it doesn't actually feel all that old to me either. also, the tassles at the corners aren't braided. a couple of the individual strands are notted together at the end, but they are are all separate strands at each of the corners. i think that's just the way i posed them for the pictures by scrunching them together. so i guess it would be best to describe this as a "small rug?"
  5. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    I agree that there are reasons to be cautious about the identification. The Mexican copies of Navajo weaving have become very good. Look for signs that the warp threads have been threaded back into the weave, as well as multiple warps at the edges, as Taupou suggested. I don't see the edge cords that are typical of Navajo weaving, but perhaps they are just not visible in the black borders.

    There have been many extensive discussions on the forum about the distinctive technique of Navajo weaving. A search for "Navajo rug" posted by Taupou -
    komokwa and johnnycb09 like this.
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