Mexican blanket dating
For the anthropologist the Navajo learned the weaving craft from the Puebloans, many of whom were harboured by Navajo families as refugees from the tyranny of Spain when that country began its conquest of the New World in the mid 1500’s.In fact, many anthropologists theorize that the Navajo arrived in the New World not long before this time, late-comers from across the Bering Straight. That the Navajo share genetic traits with the Mongols of Asia is probably a fact, the date of their arrival in the New World is not so clear cut.The story is pieced together from Spanish records and second hand accounts.A Spanish punitive expedition was dispatched to the Navajo stronghold of Canyon De Chelly.It is said that one of the women, secure of her safety in the inaccessible cave could not contain herself when the detachment was passing unaware of the Navajo hidden above. The Navajo’s position thereby betrayed, the Spanish opened fire with their rifles, the bullets ricocheting off the roof to kill many inside.She called out from the cave in her best Spanish, “Aquí vienen los hombres sin ojos! The rest were finished off by the Spanish troops who found their way into the cave. One complete blanket and fragments of clothing and blankets were found inside along with skeletons of the inhabitants, some of the skulls crushed by the butts of Spanish rifles.
Another record appears in a Yanktonai Sioux winter count by Lone Dog in which the representation of the year 1853 is of a man dressed in “white man’s clothing” holding what is most certainly a Navajo woven Ute chief’s blanket.However it is not for this reason alone that the Navajo weaving now and throughout history has been perhaps the most valued and sought after textile product of the American Southwest.The artistic beauty and sensible function of Navajo woven textiles combine to make them sublime.One of this kinown as the First Phase Ute Blanket was particularly popular among the Ute and the Lakota.This blanket was designed of bold alternating stripes in natural white and dark brown with thinner blue stripes at the top and bottom edges and through the middle.
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The Navajo used no native dyestuffs that can be verified prior to 1850.