Where Did Navajo Rugs Original?
If you’ve ever wondered where Navajo rugs come from, you’ve probably been a bit confused. There’s a lot of mystery behind them, from how they were made to their use in Native American artwork. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ll go over the history of Navajo rugs and weavings and their importance in Native American culture. And we’ll also touch on the meaning of Navajo rugs.
The history of Navajo rugs is a fascinating one. Historically, the rugs were hand-woven by Navajo women and sold on the Navajo reservation from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. This video traces the history of these rugs and explains the art of weaving Navajo rugs. A brief description of Navajo rugs follows.
Navajo rugs were a popular souvenir for travelers, especially Europeans. During the 19th century, a nascent Indian rug industry was created, fueled by a growing interest in Native cultures. Moreover, well-heeled tourists to the Southwest were looking for unique souvenirs for their homes, and rugs provided the perfect opportunity. Today, Navajo rugs are prized possessions all over the world.
Historically, Navajo women learned how to weave from their Pueblo and Spanish relatives, but their skills far surpassed their European neighbors. Interestingly, the origin of Navajo weaving is tied to a spiritual being called Spider Woman. She taught Navajo women the art of weaving, as well as the importance of the loom in their culture. Spider Woman’s weaving techniques are still practiced today, despite the fact that they have undergone a modern-day revolution.
The Navajo community was devastated by the disaster of the Bosque in the late 1800s but soon rebounded to become the largest Indian nation in the United States. In the 1930s, uranium and coal deposits created an economic boom for the Navajo people. The development of roads in the region boosted Navajo tourism. Navajo women also learned how to weave and care for sheep, which ultimately led to their own sheep.
Originally, the Navajo’s woven textiles, known as “Slave Blankets,” were used as wearing blankets. The Navajos were forced to make them by Spanish and Mexican slaves in the 1800s, as the lands were scoured for uranium and coal. In the midst of this harsh environment, they developed weavings that used materials readily available in Spanish and Mexican households.
During the early 1800s, Navajo weavers developed their weaving skills into fine art. Chief blankets and serapes were produced and became highly prized trade items. Their popularity far outstripped the weavings found in the American West. Today, early-era pieces are preserved in museums and private collections. These works illustrate the Navajo culture’s evolution from hunting to weaving. A brief history of their textiles is provided below.