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Art & Design

Navajo; North American Indian

Man’s wearing blanket (Chief blanket, phase II)

Unknown artist, Navajo; North American Indian, southwest
Man’s wearing blanket (Chief blanket, phase II), 1855-1863
Wool and cotton tapestry weave
179.1 cm (70 1/2 inches) (length)
Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 45.083

  • By the mid-nineteenth century, the Navajo had come to dominate the weaving trade among western tribes. Woven by Navajo women, Chief blankets were widely traded as shoulder blankets or wrapped cloaks for men of status (but not necessarily chiefs) in many western and Plains Indian tribes. During this period, before their internment at Bosque Redondo, New Mexico, from 1863 to 1868, the Navajo unraveled red yarns from commercially woven trade blankets and respun them to use in their own weaving, as they had no locally available sun- and wash-fast red dye.

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