What Are Navajo Rugs?
If you’ve ever wondered, “What Are Navajo Rugs?” you’re not alone. Historically, Navajos have produced rugs on an upright loom without frills and with motifs that are unique to their culture. In this article, you’ll learn about Navajo rugs and the motifs they contain. Here’s a look at some of the most popular types of Navajo rugs.
Navajo rugs are made on an upright loom
The traditional Navajo rug has no knots. Each color is added separately using separate balls of yarn, which the weaver pounds into the warp with a wooden comb or weaving fork. Complex designs may contain up to 15 balls of yarn. The resulting rug is a combination of many different colors, each one describing a different aspect of Navajo culture.
They are patterned with motifs
A Navajo rug is woven with an aniline dye, called shines. The dye is synthetic and was developed by Hofmann and Nicholson in 1858. Fushines were used extensively over the next several decades, and some rugs were dyed magenta. Another style of Navajo rug is called a Gallup throw, which is woven with warps that are tied together at one end. It is slightly smaller than a Chief’s blanket.
They are made of wool
Navajo Rugs are made of a soft, woolen material. Wool is the most common type of material used in these rugs. Traders from eastern states purchased them by the pound, and the quality of the weaving declined. Some Navajos deliberately ignored quality control. Some scour the wool, making it lighter, and they also add clay to the rugs. The resulting rugs are not as high-quality as they once were.
They are made without frills
A great way to tell if a rug is authentic is by looking at the way it is made. Most authentic Navajo rugs are made without frills or fringes. A great example is a rug made by master weaver Jennie Slick. Her finished rug has no fringe and is all wool with the side selvage cord showing up against a dark background. If you’re interested in learning how to tell if a rug is authentic, read on.
They are high-quality
When buying a Navajo Rug, it is crucial to purchase one from a reputable dealer. You may also wish to purchase one at a Native American craft fair, like the Crownpoint Rug Auctions in New Mexico. Generally, these events require vendors to be enrolled members of the tribe. Navajo Rugs are made on traditional upright looms without any mechanical parts. The loom is supported by two or three support poles, one at the bottom and one at the top. A weaver works from the bottom up, wrapping the rug around the bottom pole and back.
They are unique
Navajo rugs were originally created without dyes, but artists from other parts of the reservation began to design them. As their reputation for creating beautiful and unique pieces grew, non-native traders encouraged the weavers to create these floor pieces. Tourists from the east coast and midwest especially loved these floor pieces. While there is no clear-cut origin for this design, it has become one of the most popular styles of Navajo rugs.