NAVAJO WEAVING Its Technic and its History by Charles Avery Amsden
First edition published by The Fine Arts Press, Santa Ana, California
in Cooperation with The Southwest Museum, 1934
This Rio Grande Press, Inc. First Edition published in 1964, fourth printing 1972
Profusely illustrated with 12 figures, and 123 plates.
Hardback, 261 pages. Excellent condition
Detailed and comprehensive study of the techniques of primitive weaving, from the building of the loom with materials at hand to the cleaning, carding and handling the raw wool from the sheared sheep. It is a remarkable accounting of a primitive people developing a most sophisticated skill. At the time this book was first published in 1934, no non-Navajo Indian or Whiteman had ever developed the ability so beautifully displayed in this extraordinary art form.
From the FOREWORD:
So far as knowledge extends, the Navaho, earlier known as one of a number of Apache bands—the “Apaches de Navajo,”—adopted the art of weaving from captive Pueblo women probably about the middle of the eighteenth century, following the acquirement of sheep through raids on the flocks of the pastoral Pueblo Indians and Mexicans. Substantial support of this is afforded by the fact that Pueblo women were early adopted into the Navaho tribe and assigned to specific clans; and it is known also that by the year 1780 they were officially reported as engaged in farming, raising herds, and weaving blankets and clothing of wool.
There have been numerous studies of primitive textiles, and several on Navaho weaving have been published, but until now the subject has usually been approached from the esthetic rather than from the technical point of view. Born and reared on the selvage border of the Navajo tribal range, so to speak, it was not unnatural for a student of such exceptional acumen as Mr. Charles Amsden early to acquire an interest in these Indian neighbors, and especially in that phase of their culture which was so constantly displayed before his eyes. Appreciating the need of a comprehensive study of Navaho weaving from other than its purely esthetic aspect, our author undertook his research into the technical side of the subject in 1929, and devoted all of his available time and energy to it during that and the following years.
PART I – THE TECHNIC OF NAVAHO WEAVING
CHAPTER I - Finger Weaving
CHAPTER II – Loom Development in America
CHAPTER III – The Navajo Loom
CHAPTER IV – Weaves of the Navaho
CHAPTER V – Native Dyes: Development
CHAPTER VI – Native Dyes; Methods and Formulas
CHAPTER VII – Types and Uses of Navaho Textiles
PART II – THE HISTORY OF NAVAHO WEAVING
CHAPTER VIII – The First Sheep
CHAPTER IX – Early Navaho Weaving
CHAPTER X – Bayeta – 1800-1863
CHAPTER XI – Taming the Navaho – 1863-1868
CHAPTER XII – The Rug Business – 1890-1932
CHAPTER XIV – The Growth of Design – 1800-1820
CHAPTER XV – The Revival – 1920 to Present