Navajo Saddle Blankets

The True Navajo Blanket

The Navajo have been weaving blankets for over three centuries. Navajo blankets woven during the last 100 years were Navajo saddle blankets.  The Navajos stopped weaving blankets for their own use by the 1890's and started weaving rugs, "Navajo rugs".

The trading post encouraged the Navajo to switch from weaving Navajo blankets to rugs because the Navajo rug was sellable to the eastern tourist trade. Navajo wearing blankets lost favor. No one wanted to wear a Navajo blanket, yet a Navajo rug was nearly indestructible and was ideal for floor use. The Navajo Saddle blanket, however, continued to be produced, and they are still woven today.  

 

 

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Navajo Textiles

Navajo Rugs and Blankets

Chiefs Blankets

    

Teec Nos Pos Saddle Blanket c. 1920

This site is dedicated to the early Navajo saddle blankets from 1870 to 1950.  These are and were some of the few blankets that the Navajo continued to weave for their self use into the 20th century.

Single Saddle c. 1910

Navajo saddle blankets come in a variety of sizes, colors, and thickness.  The earliest saddle blankets were created in the 1870's. Some Navajo experts feel the small weavings that are referred to as "Navajo Child's Blankets" are nothing more than fancy saddle blankets.  Dr. Mark Sublette, an expert in Navajo weavings, feels differently.  "I believe that while photographic evidence is sparse to confirm Navajo Child's Blankets, there is no reason not to believe that the Navajo would weave smaller blankets similar to their own larger serapes.  The Navajo always cherished children and I'm sure Navajo mother;s would have wanted their children to be wrapped in a warm blanket, just as my mother made me a jacket when I was a boy"

Double Saddle c. 1920

During the 1890's Navajo Saddle blankets made from Germantown wool became fashionable, and are some of the most intricate eyedazzler's ever executed.   They were tightly woven and done in numerous bright colors.  Often woven on store bought cotton twine, these did not hold up to the heavy use on a horse and saddle.  These are highly collectable especially when in good condition.

1900 to 1930 was the golden era of Navajo Saddle blankets.  Many of the most uniquely Navajo pieces were executed during this time.  These simple yet elegant navajo rugs are very collectable today especially some of the more simplistic designs.  Those weavings which utilize the Navajo or Dine's own aesthetics for design and inspiration are compelling.  One can not help but look at these artistic weavings and wonder if the modern artist of the early to mid -twentieth century were not just exploring and expanding from these early Navajo Saddle Blanket designs.

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Additional Art Links:
ArtUFind.com
ArtUTrade.com
MedicineManGallery.com
SantaFeArtGalleries.net
CanyonRoadArts.com
TaosArtGalleries.net
AlbuquerqueArtGalleries.net