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Probably Bayeta-style Blanket with Terrace and Stepped Design

Arts of the Americas

Diné women wove waterproof wool blankets that were worn around the shoulders. In 1863 the U.S. Army forcibly removed the Diné from Arizona to Bosque Redondo detention camp in New Mexico and killed the tribe’s churro sheep. Ingenious weavers combined commercial wool with unraveled red flannel to create new designs with colorful details, as seen in this brightly colored blanket with a terrace-step design. During captivity, weaving became the primary source of income. In 1868 the Diné returned to their homelands, and weaving continued to flourish with the expansion of the railroad and the establishment of trading posts.
MEDIUM Wool, dye
DATES 1870–1880
DIMENSIONS 44 x 58in. (111.8 x 147.3cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund
PROVENANCE Prior to 1848, provenance not yet documented; by 1848, acquired by Nathan Sturges Jarvis; 1848, gift of Nathan Sturges Jarvis to the New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; 1937, loaned by the New-York Historical Society to the Brooklyn Museum; 1950, purchased from the New-York Historical Society by the Brooklyn Museum.
Provenance FAQ
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This brightly colored blanket has the terraced and step design referring to land forms and elements in nature, often referred to as terrace-step design. These blankets were worn wrapped around the shoulders and fixed with a pin in the front. Highly desirable by collectors and other Pueblo peoples they were, and still are, one of the most traded items from the Navajo. Bayeta means the unraveled yarns, the source for red yarns, not the cloth. The weaver would have unraveled Spanish cloth to obtain this. Third phase chief blanket. Notes from Joe Ben Wheat 5/5/1980 Late classic terraced design with crosses. Orange is late raveled and plied (you can usually tell the ply of the yarn by what is used in the tassels) Saltillo elements with a typical Navajo layout. 1870-1880. Possibly collected by Nathan Sturges Jarvis , Jr.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Navajo. Probably Bayeta-style Blanket with Terrace and Stepped Design, 1870–1880. Wool, dye, 44 x 58in. (111.8 x 147.3cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.54. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.67.54_PS5.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 50.67.54_PS5.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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