Crystal Navajo Weaving. The weaver for this Navajo Rug is Marie Manuelito. It measures 43″ x 61″.
The Crystal style of banded rugs features a very specific difference: the “wavy” line, produced by alternating two or three different colors of weft strands.
Crystal rugs typically group three bands of wavy lines or a solid color between one or two complex bands. Generally, the complex bands are patterned with squash blossoms, but they may feature other motifs such as arrows, stars, crosses, triangles, bear paws, or diamonds.
Sometimes I usually weave all day and herd sheep and help around the house and chopping wood…It seem like every time you look up there is a jet plane.
— Eli Van Winkle, Naslini, Arizona
A Guide to Navajo Rugs
There is an ageless beauty to Navajo weaving. Navajo weavings are many things to people. Above all else, Navajo weavings are masterworks, regardless of whose criteria of art is used to judge them. They are evocative, timeless portraits which, like all good art, transcend time and space. Navajo weaving has captured the imagination of many not only because they are beautiful, well-woven textiles but also because they so accurately mirror the social and economic history of Navajo people. Succinctly, Navajo women wove their life experiences into the pieces.
Navajo people tell us they learned to weave from Spider Woman and that the first loom was of sky and earth cords, with weaving tools of sunlight, lightning, white shell, and crystal. Anthropologists speculate Navajos learned to weave from Pueblo people by 1650. There is little doubt Pueblo weaving was already influenced by the Spanish by the time they shared their weaving skills with Navajo people. Spanish influence includes the substitution of wool for cotton, the introduction of indigo (blue) dye, and simple stripe patterning. Besides the “manta” (a wider-than-long wearing blanket), Navajo weavers also made a tunic-like dress, belts, garters, hair ties, men’s shirts, breechcloths, and a “serape-style” wearing blanket.