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The History of Navajo Rugs

by May club 12 Aug 2020 0 Comments

In recent years, not only Indian silver jewelry has become popular, but also woven elements are also very popular. For example, Indian woven rugs are widely used in home decoration and even fashionable clothing accessories, and are designed with the unique totems of the Navajo people. The rich colors attract the most attention!

In the early days, the Navajo people mainly hunted and gathered. From the second half of the 16th century to the mid-17th century, under the influence of Spanish explorers and the national culture of neighboring areas, the Navajo people began to learn to collect wool and use vertical looms, and even integrated their own Its culture and design patterns, through its unique weaving art and excellent techniques, are shining brightly all over the world!

Navajo's original woven blanket was a traditional fabric used by tribal chiefs to put on their bodies to protect or keep out the cold when performing traditional ceremonies such as praying for rain. It was hand-woven by women using the most primitive branches as fixing tools, one by one. become.

Although the Pueblo people in Mexico had begun planting cotton long before the Navajo and had their own weaving culture, the two peoples have different weaving techniques, as well as differences in the use of images and colors.

Patterns of mythological beliefs represented by the tribe can be seen on Navajo blankets. Each pattern also has a corresponding symbolic meaning. The main composition is usually surrounded by the four-quadrant worldview of its own beliefs. The representative triangular geometric images of the Four Sacred Mountains are quite common and extend out. The Butterfly symbolizes eternity, the thunderbird represents happiness, the bow and arrow represents protection, and the Whirling Log (like a swastika symbol) represents luck, etc. (Extended reading: KETOH (WRIST GUARD/BOW GUARD) BY CHOOKE )

These images not only make the woven blanket look richer, but also express the Navajo people's reverence for all things in nature. Among them, the Whirling Log has become a special existence because it has a lucky symbolic meaning and became a popular use at the time. However, during World War II However, due to the negative impression given by the German Nazi swastika, the use of the swastika among the Indian community was restricted. As a result, items containing the swastika symbol almost disappeared after 1930. In today’s vintage market Works with swastika symbols are rare (further reading: The Nazi swastika represents luck? ).

In any case, the woven blanket is still a symbol of high status for the Navajo people, so it is also nicknamed the "chief blanket"; with the advancement of technology, it has also become a symbol of various life stages in Indian culture. Representation.

Including newborn wraps, adult ceremonies, wedding dresses and even funeral offerings, the various charming styles of Navajo woven blankets can be seen in past historical photos.

In the later period, as trade activities with the outside world became more and more frequent, these "Navajo Rugs" with unique folk customs also deeply touched the hearts of European aristocrats, and then became precious trading items; in the mid-19th century, a piece of The handmade chieftain blankets woven by Navajo women are already worth a house, and a few years ago a 200-year-old early chieftaincy blanket was auctioned for an astonishing price of $1.5 million!

Pic by

It can be said that after hundreds of years, Navajo's specialty blankets are no longer limited to the positioning of blankets, but a work of art with a unique style. It can be draped casually on a chair to highlight the style, or it can also be hung on the wall for display! Currently, among many brands around the world, you can see many Remake Items made from antique woven blankets, or various items with patterns based on Navajo geometric shapes. Isn’t it exciting?

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