How Native American Clan Weavers Used Birds in the Rugs
If you have ever stumbled upon an interesting Navajo rug, you’ve likely wondered how they weaved the birds. Here’s a look at some of the traditions and techniques behind weaving Navajo rugs. You’ll also discover what makes Navajo rugs unique. Let’s get started! Learn about Navajo weavers’ weaving traditions!
Trees, or ‘The tree of Life, are sacred symbols to the Navajo people. They represent creation, fertility, resurrection, and immortality, and are regarded as pillars between earth and heaven. Bluebirds were considered messengers of the gods. Rainbows represent life, and the Tree of Life motif is a popular choice among contemporary collectors. This motif is highly symbolic of the Navajo way of life and is considered a popular choice in Navajo rugs.
The motifs on Birds in Navajo rugs are often stylized versions of the Navajo creation story. The Bird motif on a corn stock is often accompanied by a cactus or a sunflower. In some cases, the Bird motif is made of a single woven star. A similar motif depicts birds on a band around the center. The rug is bordered by a thin red edge.
Throughout the history of Navajo weaving, a variety of animals and birds were woven into the rugs. These motifs are also found in Navajo pottery. During World War II, Spanish traders introduced a more elaborate form of weaving, called the serape. Serapes were long and often did not have a slit in the middle for the head. During this time, Navajo weavers began producing both types of rugs. Today, Navajo weavers continue to make both styles of weaving, although on a smaller scale.
The two styles of Navajo weaving are remarkably similar. Both styles feature birds, and some include both animals and plants. The Two Grey Hills style was developed by George Bloomfield and Ed David. Typical colors for these weavings are naturally brown, tan, gray, ivory, and white. They often have a central carved bird or animal, and many rugs in this style depict various types of animals and birds.
Historically, Navajo textiles have been characterized by their use of birds as motifs. During the period from 1870 to the early 1900s, the Navajo people often used birds to embellish their weavings. The motifs were often based on feathers, birds’ fur, and other natural elements. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, two types of serape blankets were created. Banded blankets were descendants of the earliest Navajo weavings, while serrated blankets were descendants of the Hispanic Saltillo serapes. Often, weavers outlined small serrated patterns with a single yarn.
During the 19th century, Navajo “Chief’s Blankets” became a highly prized trade good. Due to their softness, they were traded across the Great Plains. These blankets were influenced by Spanish weaving techniques and began to incorporate geometric patterns. As time passed, Navajo textiles became more refined and popular. In addition to using birds as motifs, they also used other animals such as snakes, lizards, and birds.
Navajo weaving traditions
Navajo weaving traditions have long featured animals. These animals are often sacred messengers, and birds have a special place in Navajo culture. Many of these rugs feature a Navajo deity called the Yei. The Yei is tall, and slender, and carries rattles and cornstalks. They also represent Navajo cosmology.
Birds appear frequently in Navajo rugs. They represent a person’s progress in life and their connection to the Earth and Universe. The use of birds in Navajo weaving traditions is not limited to religious symbolism. Traders often encouraged weavers to include birds in their rugs. While the animals may have symbolic meaning, it’s possible that the Navajo weaving tradition was inspired by other cultures.