Hopi Black Wool Manta with Diagonal Twill Edging

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The traditional clothing for women at Hopi into the early 1900s included a black diagonal twill-weave wool manta with indigo blue diamond twill borders.  “Women wore these as wraparound dresses held at the waist with the traditional red wool belt. The manta-dress is definitely pre-Spanish, for similar black blanket-dresses are illustrated in the Pottery Mound murals.  Such manta-dresses are still worn in dances and on special occasions, but with a European-style cotton dress or a commercial cloth manta underneath.” Kent 1983:63

The center portion of the manta was woven on black warps with black weft yarns.  The exposed weft is usually tinted with native black dye. The two ends are woven in a diamond twill and dyed with indigo.  The black center of the textile and the indigo blue ends contrast very little in color so the indigo twill pattern tends to be overlooked.  After around 1900, commercial blue dye began to replace indigo dye.

Black mantas are worn as shoulder blankets in cold weather and, as they become thin and softer from use, are made into dresses.  It is traditional at all the Hopi villages for men to do the weaving. Men, of the groom’s family, weave all the future brides wedding attire.  

Zuni Pueblo is another where such black and indigo mantas have a tradition.  They are quite similar at Hopi and Zuni to the point where it is difficult to determine which pueblo to credit for a particular manta.


Condition: this Hopi Black Wool Manta with Diagonal Twill Edging is in very good condition

Provenance: from a gentleman in Santa Fe

Reference: Pueblo Indian Textiles—a Living Tradition by Kate Peck Kent

Alternate View of this Pueblo textile.

Artist Unknown
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