Two Grey Hills Navajo Nation Tapestry Textile [SOLD]


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Weaver Unknown

This small, very intricately woven tapestry textile is typical of those from the Two Grey Hills area of the Navajo Reservation with its intricate design layout and use of only natural wool from local sheep, without the use of commercial dyes. The wool was spun numerous times to achieve the thinnest thread with which to weave. White and dark brown are natural colors of sheep's wool, and the grey field was achieved by carding those two colors for the mixture. The light tan color was achieved by carding dark brown with more white wool.

Take note of the single thread that traverses a path from the inner design through the various brown, white, grey, and outer border to exit the textile for freedom.  This is known as the Weaver’s Pathway and it developed when traders such as J. B. Moore and Lorenzo Hubbell convinced the weavers that their blankets would look more like rugs if they would place a border around the edge to frame the textile.  Navajo beliefs to never close a circle took hold here, with the solution being a path to break the frame.  This belief is apparent in Navajo baskets, where there is always a break in the circles of the design, and in Navajo pottery, where there is always a break in the fillet of clay encircling the neck of a jar.  The traders only created another dilemma for the weavers by asking for borders.  All traditional Navajo blankets were borderless, so a weaver’s pathway was not necessary until the advent of converting blankets into rugs.

Two Grey Hills Trading Post and its neighboring Toadlena Trading Post are each over a century old and are among the few remaining historic posts on the Navajo Indian Reservation. They both are a primary source of authentic regional rugs and tapestries. Made of hand spun yarn from the fleece of naturally colored local sheep in shades of gray, brown, black, and white, they are known around the world as the finest in Navajo weaving.

Since the early 1900s the weavers in the Two Grey Hills region, with the guidance of the traders, have produced rugs that are recognized everywhere as the pinnacle of the art. Artists there have challenged each other to spin the tightest yarns and to create the most intricate designs on their looms. Their trademark colors are the natural colors of the local sheep—greys and browns, white and black.

Two Grey Hills Trading Post is managed by Mr. Les Wilson, and boasts a herd of Churro sheep, whose different colors of wool allow natural yarn for traditional Two Grey Hills rug colors, with no dyes needed. The original stone and adobe store, listed in the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties, still serves the local Navajo population today.

Condition: appears to be in original condition.

Provenance: this Two Grey Hills Navajo Nation Tapestry Textile is from a gentleman in Santa Fe

Recommended Reading: BETWEEN TRADITIONS: Navajo Weaving Toward the End of the Nineteenth Century by J. J. Brody

Relative Links: textilesNavajo Nation

Close up view of this very fine textile weaving - a  tapestry.