Introduction to Navajo Weaving
of Navajo weaving extends back over two centuries. The
art of weaving, first learned by the Navajos from the Pueblo
tribes of the southwest, has consisted of 3 distinct periods.
The Classic period prior to 1870; the weavings
of which are very materially scarce today, is the period in
which the art of weaving was fundamentally developed by the
Navajo people. The primary emphasis during this period
was on the weaving of blankets, shawls, and dresses for trade
and practical use.
The Transitional period from 1875 - 1900 saw the
first use of commercially dyed yarns, producing many eye dazzling
and intense, expressionistic styles, and began the transition
to weavings made for the use of rugs and saddle blankets.
The modern, Contemporary period of Navajo weaving
is defined today by the identification of weaving styles primarily
related to geographic origin. These regional styles can be traced
back to the personal design preferences of a few highly influential
traders, and have resulted in the development of basically 17
styles of Navajo weaving.