Dating navajo rugs

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Weavers also found that the market for their blankets was changing rapidly.The trading post system and its ties to the railroad brought relatively cheap manufactured clothing and supplies to the Navajo and surrounding tribes.During the last two decades of the 19th century, most Navajo blankets were woven of spongy, loosely spun yarns most frequently dyed with aniline reds, oranges and yellows.Beside the chief’s blanket mantas, two types of serape blankets predominated in this period.The Third Phase type, between 18, saw the addition of stepped or serrated diamonds of color to the center and ends of the wide stripes.In weavings of the Fourth Phase, made from 1870 through the early 1900s, diamond motifs became larger and more elaborate, often overtaking the stripes as primary design elements.In an effort to subdue and “domesticate” the Indians, the US Army slaughtered the Navajo’s sheep and destroyed their crops and homes.The government allowed weaving to continue during the internment by replacing the Navajo’s home-grown wool with factory-made yarns from Europe and the eastern United States.

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Navajo women learned weaving in the mid-1600s from their Pueblo Indian neighbors who had been growing and weaving cotton since about 800 AD.Blankets made of these colorful yarns are generically called Germantown weavings after the town in Pennsylvania where much of the yarn was produced.The use of Germantown-type yarns ceased shortly after 1900.Revivals of chief’s blankets-usually made as rugs-have been popular since the 1950s.A watershed in Navajo weaving came in the 1860s with the incarceration of about 8000 men, women and children at Bosque Redondo reservation in eastern New Mexico.

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