Vintage Transitional Blanket
Vintage Transitional Blanket is estimated to have been woven in 1880’s. This is an authentic vintage Navajo weaving. The weaver is unknown. Size: 68″ x 79″.
A Pictorial rug portrays a bit of Navajo reality; a woven journal of the features of a weaver’s daily life.
Many Pictorials are landscapes with a hogan, a corral and pickup truck, a woman in a long skirt. Sheep, cattle, and horses are often shown, too. The landscape usually includes rock formations, trees, ponds, and clouds. Railroad trains, panel trucks emblazoned with soft drink logos, and even aircraft also show up on pictorials.
Pictorial rugs are woven in colors appropriate to the subject matter – blue skies, green junipers, black or white sheep. Borders, if any, are usually dark.
Many Pictorials are still woven without perspective or shading, but some weavers are producing some surprisingly realistic pictures, considering the medium.
Occasionally, a weaver will make a replica of a flag, or weave a motto such as “Home Sweet Home”. Though technically Pictorials, these usually are referred to as “specialty rugs”.
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.