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Culture:Native American; Dinè
Title:"Fancy" Saddle Blanket?
Date Made:1880s-1930s
Place Made:United States; Southeastern Utah; Northeastern Arizona; Northwestern New Mexico; Navajo Reservation
Measurements:overall: 24 x 21 1/4 in.; 60.96 x 53.975 cm
Narrative Inscription:  unmarked
Accession Number:  SC 2001.6.4
Credit Line:Bequest of Ruth Thompson, class of 1932
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

This small square red saddle blanket is woven from aniline dyed red, black, and white wool. The five whirling log symbols present in the center and corners of the weaving represent the four directions, and were viewed (prior to WWII) as a positive symbol of balance and good luck. After the symbol became associated with Hitler's Holocaust of Jewish populations in Europe, Navajo weavers ceased to use the motif. A geometric border encompasses the central whirling logs. Aniline dyes, producing vibrant colors that did not easily fade, became popular in the late 1880s. The saddle blanket may have once had a fringed border and tassels, which have since worn off with use. These fringed features would identify the saddle blanket as a "fancy" saddle blanket that was highly prized. AP2018

blankets; Native American

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