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Culture:Native American; Diné
Title:Fancy Saddle Blanket
Date Made:1880s-present
Place Made:United States; Southwest; Southeastern Utah; Northeastern Arizona; Northwestern New Mexico; Navajo Reservation
Measurements:18 x 18 in.; 45.72 x 45.72 cm
Accession Number:  SC 1984.35.6
Credit Line:Transfer from Smith College Science Center
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

This small square red saddle blanket is woven from aniline dyed red, black, white, blue, and green wool. The two "crosses" present in the center of the weaving represent Spider Woman and are referred to as "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. Four black and white lightning rods encompass the Spider Woman Crosses. These rods are another popular Navajo weaving motif, communicating the belief that lightning created the first weaving tools for women to use. (Lightning patterns later morphed into the popular Germantown Eyedazzler pattern.) Aniline dyes, producing vibrant colors that did not easily fade, became popular in the late 1880s, when the detailed "Germantown Eyedazzler" weaving pattern (consisting of fine diamonds and zigzags, rather than geometrics or horizontal bands) also originated. A white fringe, with blue tassels, are seen around the outer edge of the saddle blanket. These fringed features identify the saddle blanket as a "fancy" saddle blanket. AP2018

blankets; Native American; Native American

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