Handmade Native American rugs and textiles are truly works of art; they are one-of-a-kind items that take many months to create. The handmade Navajo rugs are part of a sacred history that dates back more than 300 years, when weaving was introduced to the Navajo tribe. But the gorgeous Native American rugs, wall hangings, blankets, and other textiles available from just representatives of the past; they’re also emblems of “The Next Phase” of Navajo weaving.
Beautiful, handmade textiles, including American Indian rugs, wall hangings, blankets, and tapestries, are often overlooked as the brilliant works of art they are. Functional art, such as textiles and pottery, is too often devalued in comparison to fine art, such as painting and sculpture. Fortunately, this trend is changing, as crafts are finally being given their due in thousands of museums across the United States and the world at large.
Navajo textiles were originally utilitarian blankets for use as cloaks, dresses, saddle blankets, and similar purposes. Toward the end of the 19th century, weavers began to make rugs for tourism and export. Typical Navajo textiles have strong geometric patterns. They are a flat tapestry-woven textile produced in a fashion similar to kilims of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, but with some notable differences. In Navajo weaving, the slit weave technique common in kilims is not used, and the warp is one continuous length of yarn, not extending beyond the weaving as fringe. Traders from the late 19th and early 20th century encouraged adoption of some kilim motifs into Navajo designs.