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Culture:Native American; Dinè
Date Made:1890s-1930s
Place Made:United States; Southeastern Utah; Northeastern Arizona; Northwestern New Mexico; Navajo Reservation
Measurements:overall: 47 x 16 1/4 in.; 119.38 x 41.275 cm
Narrative Inscription:  unmarked
Accession Number:  SC 2001.6.5
Credit Line:Bequest of Ruth Thompson, class of 1932
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

This rectangular rug, woven for sale at a trading post or to tourists during a period when Navajo rugs (rather than blankets) were in high demand by outsiders, depicts two white zigzag-like lines that run horizontal across the gray textile. The second white line shows small black triangles, as well as a row of white "Spider Woman Crosses." Spider Woman, a figure in Navajo cosmology, is known for gifting Navajo women with weaving knowledge and patterns. She is often represented through crosses that symbolize the four directions, as well as values of balance and harmony. The white zigzags, on the other hand, could reresent lightning rods. These rods are another popular Navajo weaving motif, communicating the belief that lightning created the first weaving tools for women to use. All motifs and even the rug itself are bordered with black yarn. Even though aniline dyes were used by Navajo weavers beginning in the 1880s, this rug is free from any aniline dyes. Instead, the gray and black colors were attained by using natural dyes native to the region. By the late 1930s, rugs began to depict pictoral scenes, signaling a lessening of geometric patterns. AP2018

rugs; Native American

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