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”)

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]

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]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Navajo Rug J B Moore Huge Wool Blanket Native American Thunderbird SpunNative American Indian Navajo Rug Blanket Whirling Logs Water Bugs Circa 1910 20Antique Early American Indian Navajo Eye Dazzler Zig Zag Rug Blanket TextileNice Early 20th Cent. Navajo Rug 77 X 44 Inches 196 X 120 Cm Old Native American Navajo Weaving / Rug Or Saddle BlanketEarly Hand Weaving Navajo Native American Indian Rug Carpet Blanket 66" X 43"20s Churro Ganado Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Ranchfolks Nr1920s Churro Wool Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Ranchfolks NrVintage Navajo Wool Rug "whirling Log" Pattern Great Colors!C30s Tight Weave Crystal Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Ranchfolks NrGorgeous! Lorena Nez 84" X 56" Vintage Navajo Weaving Rug Earthen ColorsNavajo Traditional BlanketGreat Early 20th Cent. Navajo Rug W/lizards Large 107x 53.5 Inches 272 X 136 CmRed Mesa Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Textile Ranchfolks NrVintage Navajo Rug Arrow Wool Blanket Native American Indian Black BrownEarly Hand Weaving Native American Indian Navajo Rug Carpet Blanket 29" X 60"Antique Navajo Rug J B Moore Wool Chief's Blanket Native American Storm HomespunOlder Navajo Navaho Indian Rug/double Saddle Blanket....excond....2 Tone....nrSaddle Blanket Navajo Rug Native American Indian Navaho Textile Ranchfolks NrNice Genuine Vintage Yei Wool Navajo Rug Made On Indian Reservation 38” X 28"Antique Vintage Navajo Native American Indian Saddle Blanket Rug Tribal 27.5x37"**gorgeous Antique 19th Century Navajo Transitional Blanket/ Rug *1890* Antique Estate Navajo Eye Dazzler Wool Rug Fine Tight Weave Excellent Lazy LinesAntique Vintage Navajo Indian Rug Woven About 1920's "striped Blanket" 3' X 5'7"Antique Navajo Rug Beautiful Colors, Great Design!Vintage Navajo Native American Indian Tight Weave Rug Two Grey Hills? 23" X 45"Summer Thunder Sandpainting Navajo Rug Native Indian Blanket Mint Ranchfolks NrOld Navajo Indian Rug Blanket WeavingOlder Navajo Navaho Indian Rug/double Saddle Blanket...twill Weave...excond...nrNavajo Rug Mid 1920'sExc Decorative Navajo Saddle Blanket/rug 1950-60s Handspun Hand Dyed 35"x59" Nr!Vintage Native American Navajo Indian Hand Woven Wool Geometric Rug Wall Art YqzSouthwest Navajo Wool Rug Saddle Blanket 22.5"x44" $9.99 No ReserveTree Of Life Vintage Navajo Rug Native American Indian Estate Wool Weaving BirdsTwo Grey Hills Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Ranchfolks NrVintage Navajo Rug Arrow Wool Blanket Native American Indian Black BrownNavajo Native American Indian Rug Large - 75" X 100" Evelyn Yazzie Burn Water Woven Navajo Navaho Blanket Rug 33 X 5130s Churro Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Wool Ranchfolks NrNavajo Indian Rug Wallhanging Sampler Wool Native American Mid-century Vintage Navajo Native American Indian Rug Double Saddle Blanket 28" X 56"1930-1942 Pendleton Woolen Mills Cayuse Indian Trade Blanket 64x48 3rd Tag 1930s Gallup Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Wool Ranchfolks NrVintage Navajo Native American Indian Twill Weave Rug Double Saddle Blanket Vintage Lg Navajo Rug Sunrise Blanket Crest Handmade Black Brown Fuschia 80x50Vintage - Native American Rug - Navajo - 38x96 - Weaving - Wool Antique Early American Indian Navajo Germantown Rug Blanket TextileNavajo Wool Rug/blanket 31" X 61" $39.99 No ReserveVintage Navajo Weaver Loom Native American Indian Doll Old Handspun Wool Rug WowSaddle Blanket Navajo Rug Native American Indian Blanket Navaho Ranchfolks NrVtg Navajo Tree Of Life Light Beige Hand Woven RugNavajo Eyedazzler Double Saddle Blanket C. 1940Navajo Rug Circa 1990 By Caroline Begay From Blue Gap, Arizona. Two Vintag Antique Native American Indian Navajo Wool Saddle Blanket Rug WeavingVintage ~german Town~ Navajo Native American Open Field Dbl.saddle BlanketAntique Early American Indian Navajo Rare Saddle Blanket, Rug Wall ,hangingOld Navajo Rug Aka Gallup Throw Old Navajo Rug Aka Gallup Throw Navajo Rug Keychain With Certificate Of Authenticity NewSmall American Indian Wool Woven Rug With Stylized Indians Depicted