Early 20th Century Crystal Trading Post Navajo Rug


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Weaver Unknown

Navajo textiles woven between 1890 and 1920 are generally termed "transitional" textiles—the transition from Navajo blankets to Navajo rugs. In the early stages of this transitional period, the rugs strongly resemble blanket patterns and styles; the most obvious similarity was a textile without a border. Placing a border on a blanket was never done.

When Indian traders suggested that a border would make the rug more like a Persian rug, and thereby make it more saleable, the weavers generally found that to be against their belief of not closing a path of escape for the talent of the weaver. Navajo basket design always has an escape line for the same reason. Early weavers chose to place a "weaver's pathway" or line break in the border like that in baskets. Eventually, decades later, most weavers discontinued the pathway.

This Navajo rug was woven from Native wool from white and brown sheep. There are no dyes in this rug. The background field is a beautiful mixture of carding white and brown wool together in a beautiful salt and pepper finish. The interior design was also carded wool but in a more consistent light brown color.

This rug could conceivably be considered as having a double border, considering the outline of the inner design as a border, and the stepped design nearer the edges of the rug. This is an extraordinarily beautiful rug in design, colors, and weaving techniques. It quite likely dates to the 1910-1920 period.

Condition: very good condition for its age. It has just been professionally washed. There is some minor breakage in the end selvedge cords.

Provenance: this Early 20th Century Crystal Trading Post Navajo Rug is from the collection of a client from Virginia

Recommended Reading: One Hundred Years of Navajo Rugs by Marian E. Rodee

TAGS: textilesNavajo NationMary Kessie, Navajo Weaver

Weaver Unknown
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