Vintage Navajo Weaving: Transitional Phase 2 Chief Blanket, circa 1880, 4’11” x 4’5″


Vintage Transitional Phase 2 Chief Blanket

Vintage Transitional Phase 2 Chief Blanket is estimated to have been woven in 1880’s. This is an authentic vintage Navajo weaving. The weaver is unknown. Size:4’11” x 4’5″

Transitional Period

The period from 1875 to 1910, when rapid changes in the social environment were occurring, and the Navajo and Pueblo peoples went from living in an unrestricted geographical region to a reservation setting. At this time new weaving materials and new cultural ideas were introduced, and an increasing number of goods were manufactured for non-Indian use. Textile shapes and texture changed to satisfy new uses and demands.

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.