Arts of the Americas
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The United States on the World Stage, 1865–1930
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 the 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 colorful designs. During their captivity, weaving became their primary source of income, and when the Diné returned to their homelands in 1868, this practice continued to flourish with the expansion of the railroad and the establishment of trading posts. This variant of a chief’s blanket was most likely made for sale to non-Native buyers, and is decorated with bicolored, equilateral crosses in brown and white with stepped arms in the form of triangles.
Gift of Thomas Watters, Jr.
Navajo. Chief's Blanket, ca. 1880. Wool, dye, 48 × 68 in. (121.9 × 172.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Thomas Watters, Jr., 60.145.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 60.145.1_PS5.jpg)
overall, 60.145.1_PS5.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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