Skip Navigation

Chief's Blanket

Arts of the Americas

Diné women wove waterproof wool blankets that were worn around the shoulders. In 1863, the U.S. Army forcibly removed the Diné from Arizona to the Bosque Redondo detention camp in New Mexico and killed the tribe’s churro sheep. Ingenious weavers combined commercial wool with unraveled red flannel to create colorful designs. During their captivity, weaving became their primary source of income, and when the Diné returned to their homelands in 1868, this practice continued to flourish with the expansion of the railroad and the establishment of trading posts. This variant of a chief’s blanket was most likely made for sale to non-Native buyers, and is decorated with bicolored, equilateral crosses in brown and white with stepped arms in the form of triangles.
MEDIUM Wool, dye
DATES ca. 1880
DIMENSIONS 48 × 68 in. (121.9 × 172.7 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Gift of Thomas Watters, Jr.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Navajo. Chief's Blanket, ca. 1880. Wool, dye, 48 × 68 in. (121.9 × 172.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Thomas Watters, Jr., 60.145.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 60.145.1_PS5.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 60.145.1_PS5.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.