How the Navajo Began Weaving Wool Rugs
The Navajo weavers were taught how to weave by Spider-Man and Spider-Woman. As a result, they began weaving wool rugs by the pound, influenced by Mexican design and using indigo dye. In addition to indigo, Navajo rugs were also influenced by Mexican art and were considered some of the most beautiful rugs in the world.
Navajo weavers were taught to weave by Spider-Man and Spider-Woman
In the myths of several American Indian tribes, Spider-Woman and Spider-Man are sacred beings. They are associated with the emergence of life on earth and assist human beings in the process of survival. Specifically, the Navajos believe that the Spider Woman taught them how to weave. They rub their hands in spider webs to learn from Spider Woman’s knowledge. In the Navajo creation story, Spider-Woman is also mentioned with the Monster Slayer and Child of Water. The Keresan creation story mentions Spider Woman and says she gave the corn goddess Iyatiku a basket of seeds to plant.
The Navajo people were led by holy people called Spider-Woman and Spider-Man. The Navajo people were taught how to weave by the Spider-Man and Spider-Woman. The Navajos are a people of the Athabaskan language. They migrated south from Canada into New Mexico before 1400. They took the churro sheep and upright looms from the Pueblo people and developed unique weaving techniques. Before the civil war of 1864, they produced extraordinary textiles for the Navajo people.
Navajos began weaving wool rugs by the pound
When the railroad service reached the lands of the Navajo people in the early 1880s, the demand for woven goods increased tremendously. Wool production more than doubled and textile production jumped nearly 800 percent. The shortage of raw wool was offset by purchases of manufactured yarn. According to federal reports, weaving was performed almost exclusively by women. As demand grew, quality suffered. Today, a Navajo wool rug sells for about $8000.
The demand for rugs continued to grow into the 20th century, and Navajo weavers began weaving wool rugs by the pound. In response to the low quality of wool from the Rambouillet sheep, the US government established the Navajo Breeding Laboratory in New Mexico. The lab developed 84 new colors and eventually displaced Rambouillet sheep on the Reservation.
Navajos used indigo dye
Navajo weavers used indigo dye to dye wool rag rugs to create a distinctive and timeless aesthetic. They obtained the dye through gifts and trade and dissolved it into a weak alkaline solution, usually urine. This solution can be reused for months, and the process is both inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Another benefit of indigo is that it does not require heat or mordants, which is especially valuable in desert environments.
The Bosque Redondo, Spanish for “circle of trees,” is a Navajo village in eastern New Mexico. Fort Sumner was a Navajo prison during the American Civil War. Indigo dye was used for rugs, but the Navajos also used the plant’s Carminic acid for color. The wool is first carded, a process that involves pulling it with two wire brushes. The carded fibers are then spun into yarn.
Navajos were influenced by Mexican design
Initially, the Navajos mainly made blankets, but after Spanish settlers arrived they began to weave rugs as well. These blankets became popular and became status symbols for many Native tribes. It took hundreds of years for the Navajos to make the switch from blankets to rugs. The transition between the blankets and rugs took place after the Mexican American War, and after the establishment of trading posts throughout the Navajo territory.
Early Navajo rugs differ greatly from those made later. Their wool quality was excellent during this time period, and Mexican design was also prevalent. But as the weaving process evolved, the quality of the wool improved and the designs became more detailed. This led to a change in style and color. However, despite these differences, the Navajos’ rugs still represent a significant part of their culture and economy.