About this artwork
Navajo (Diné) blankets made using fine churro wool and natural dyes are valued as works of special artistic and cultural significance. The design of this blanket, which features a steeped diamond in the center, quarter-diamonds ar each corner, and half-diamonds in the center of each side, was first introduced during the 1860s. The stripes of white, black-brown, and red reflect the continued use of pattern elements typical of earlier blankets. Although such textiles are known as “chiefs’ blankets,” prominent men from tribes as far away as the Northern Plains, Southwest, and Great Basin wore them draped over their shoulders as a sign of their wealth and status.
The Navajo believe that the deity Spider woman taught women how to weave and continues to work through today’s artists by directing the growth and beauty of each textile they make. Finished blankets are thought to have life forces of their own, radiating a sense of vitality and harmony—essential to the Navajo philosophy of hozho in which every individual strives to live in balance with the world.
- Currently Off View
- Navajo (Diné)
- Chief Blanket (Third Phase)
- Made 1855–1865
- Wool, single interlocking tapestry weave; twined edges; corner tassels
- 149.6 × 173.9 cm (58 7/8 × 68 1/2 in.)
- Robert Allerton Endowment