In many ways, the story of Navajo rugs is intertwined with the story of Native American blankets. Weaving among Native Americans first began with the Pueblo people more than 1,000 years ago. Between approximately 1050 and 1300, they produced a wide array of blankets using vertical looms. Cotton was the material of choice, but in the 1500s, the Spanish brought churro sheep to America and forced the Puebloans to weave with wool.

After a Pueblo uprising drove the Spaniards out around 1680, the Spaniards returned in greater numbers in 1692. Their brutality prompted many Pueblo people to take refuge with the Navajo. Thanks to this mingling of cultures, the Navajo learned wool weaving from the Pueblo people. Navajo textiles soon become respected and well known for their quality and artistry.

By the late 19th century, the preferences of white tourists dictated what Native American weavers produced. For example, weavers noticed that many Navajo blanket owners were simply putting their blankets on the floor and using them as rugs. With this in mind, Navajo weavers began making rugs in addition to blankets, using a heavier type of weaving and abandoning stripes for borders. Abstract designs gave way to pictorials like cowboys and horses.

Similarly, blanket customers began using their purchases for decoration rather than on bedding, so many weavers switched from homespun fiber to inferior but cheaper prefabricated yarn. With the adoption of Germantown fibers and aniline dyes, the palette of available colors exploded, and Navajo blankets suddenly became extremely multi-colored.

Even as Native Americans were evolving what they produced to better appeal to the tourist trade, less-expensive manufactured fabrics were pushing their products aside. But in the 1920s, Navajo weaving enjoyed a renewed level of attention that continues to this day.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

LACMA Luxury Textiles

LACMA Luxury Textiles

Textile collectors shouldn't miss this microsite from the LA County Museum of Art, a great reference on European an… [read review or visit site]

First American Art

First American Art

The companion website to First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art, which… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Early 87" X 53" Navajo Native American Indian Rug Carpet Merino Wool Antique Antique 81" X 58" Navajo Native American Indian Rug Blanket Red Black Indigo Early 54" X 38" Navajo Southwest Native American Indian Rug Carpet Merino WoolVintage Navajo Native American Rug Blanket 48"x22"" Authentic Original Near MintVintage Navajo Native American Rug Blanket 60"x32" Authentic Original Near MintGorgeous Navajo Navaho Indian Zoned Rug W/banded Stripes & Stepped Crosses....nrVintage Navajo Native American Rug Blanket 30"x30" Authentic Original Near MintAntique Early 81" X 55" Navajo Native American Indian Rug Blanket Needs Repair1920's Crystal Navajo Rug 41x59 Valero Stars & Storm Pattern With Documentation Large 69" X 48" Vintage 1970s Navajo Pictorial Rug 2 Navajo Tree Of Life Birds Master Early Teec Nos Pos Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket RanchfolksPendleton Beaver State Woolen Mills Indigo Wool Blanket Chief Joseph 64" X 80"Klagetoh Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Churro Ranchfolks NrChurro Cir1930 Teec Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Textile RanchfolksVintage Wool Navajo Rug 29"x44" Beautiful Gold,black,grey Colors HandwovenVintage Native Indian Blue & Multicolored Wool Blanket / Rug - EucVintage Native American Indian Navajo Tribal Geometric Horse Saddle Blanket RugNavajo Navaho Indian Rug/runner...excond...serrate Zigzag Lines...64 X 30...nr Nice 60" X 28" Navajo Native American Indian Rug Carpet Small Blanket NiceCa. 1930 S Native American Indian Miniature Sampler Navajo Rug W Original StickVintage Native Indian Gray & Multicolored Wool Blanket / Rug, Plus Sm Rug - EucNative American Indian Navajo Rug Sand Painting Circa 1970's Father Sky early 32" X 50" Navajo Native American Indian Rug Carpet Vintage 50s Chimayo Turquoise Handwoven Indian Rug Blanket Nice ConditionNavajo Rug, Pictorial By Josephine Francis 17 X 18 InGallup Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Textile Ranchfolks NrNavajo Wool Rug 62"x38" Great Condition Storm Pattern HandmadeNative American Indian Navajo Rug Blanket Yei Corn Stalks And FeathersVintage Native American Indian Navajo Tribal Geometric Blanket RugNavajo Navaho Indian Rug....serrate Butterfly Design....excond...46 X 32...noresNew Pendleton Made In Usa Dakota Sioux Robe Blanket Vintage Authentic Navajo Hand- Woven Rug, Two Grey Hills Pattern Beautiful!Vintage Native American 81" X 59" Indian ? Guatemalan? Woven Blanket Carpet RugVintage Southwestern Navajo? Wool 31" X 60" Rug, Saddle Blanket, Wall HangerVintge Native American 79" X 52" Indian Guatemalan Mexico? Woven Blanket Carpet Vtg.woven Wool Rug/wall Hanging.am.indian Style,29 X 58,good Used Cond'tVintage Navajo Style ? Wool Rug 61" X 27" Rug Runner, Saddle BlanketNative American Wool RugAuthentic Vintage Navajo Saddle Blanket (rug) With Natural Dyes 32" X 29"Older Navajo Wool Rug/weaving, Very Colorful Striped Pattern, Ex Condition, NrVintage American Indian Wool Fringed Rug 18"x 41"Chimayo Hand Woven Indian Design Textile Wool Rug Wall HangingNative American Navajo Pendleton Beaver State Reversible Blanket Big '72x '56Native American 79" X 52" Indian Guatemalan Mexico Woven Blanket Carpet America?Genuine Navajo Rug......oval (round End) Yei-be-chaiNative American Rug/ Wall Hanging/prayer Rug(navajo?) 1989 With PaperVintage 60" X 70" Navajo Native American Indian Rug Blanket Red Black Grey WoolNavajo Indian Designed 20 "by 40" Ganado Designed Wool Rug!gorgeous!Vtg.woven Wool Mat/wall Hanging/rug.am.indian Style,11 1/4x 9,good Used Cond't