Vintage Navajo Weaving:”Klagetoh”, Circa 1930, 70″ x 97″


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Vintage Navajo Klagetoh

Vintage Navajo Klagetoh, c. 1930 measures 70″ x 97″, weaver unknown


Klagetoh rugs resemble Ganados, but a typical Klagetoh is dominated by its grey background. The weaver uses black, white, and red in a design which is usually centered on an elongated diamond.

Except for the red, the different wools used are natural colors, although black wool may be enhanced with commercial dye. Sometimes, the grey will be brownish or even distinctly tan, depending on the fleece.

Although the distinction between Ganado, Klagetoh, Two Grey Hills, and Burntwater are made strictly on the basis of color, the first two styles tend to have simpler designs that the other two.

The name comes from a small settlement south of Ganado, and means “Hidden Springs.”

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.