Arts of the Americas
Wool, natural plant dye, synthetic dye
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Brooklyn Museum Collection
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Navajo. Wearing Blanket, ca. 1880-1895. Wool, natural plant dye, synthetic dye, 53 x 78 in. (134.6 x 198.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X1178. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, X1178_PS5.jpg)
overall, X1178_PS5.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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This wearing blanket has an all over diamond pattern common to the late nineteenth century. Also typical is the fact it has no border, which weavings intended for rug use often have thus it is probably a wearing blanket.
In 1880-1881 the Santa Fe Railroad came through Navajo territory bringing new materials and the potential for new customers for Navajo weavings. As soon as the Germantown 4 ply yarns and commercial aniline dyes became available, Navajo weavers employed them to their full potential. Designs changed from simple stripes and conservative diamond patterns to an explosion of innovation in weaving using new colors not available with natural dyes, such as yellow, orange, green and purple. On this wearing blanket a new wedge-weave development created shimmering effects with a complex exchange of background and foregrounds that uses yellow and red synthetic dyes, a white natural yarn, and indigo-dyed homespun yarn. For a decade, this break-away styling was very popular with non-Native clients and such weavings became known as Eye Dazzlers.
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