Navajo Klagetoh Rug

Through tradition, adaptation, and innovation, Southwest weaving styles have evolved over the past 2,000 years from a complex blend of multi-cultural influences derived from Pueblo, Navajo, Spanish-American, and Euro-American weaving traditions. During the mid-sixteenth century, Spanish colonialists introduced Churro sheep into the area and wool replaced cotton as the preferred weaving material of Pueblo and Navajo weavers.

The Rug Period (1890-1930) replaced the Blanket and Transitional Periods (1700-1890), and coincided with the emergence of the Arts and Crafts movement in America. A number of regional rug styles evolved, including Ganado, Crystal, Klagetoh, and Two Grey Hills, to name a few. The Klagetoh regional style combines natural carded wools (black, white, tan) with red dyed designs as in this example. The bold central red design surrounded by a broad, complex geometric patterned border recalling ancient southwest pottery designs are also characteristic elements of the Klagetoh style.

The production of large-scale rugs such as this one requires tremendous effort and can take up to three years or more to complete. Further, it requires construction of a special loom that can support such a large-scale, heavy weaving. Given the time and commitment needed to complete such a project, few textiles on this scale were produced, and museums are the primary institutions with the resources to preserve and exhibit these unique treasures.

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Artist Unknown, Navajo Klagetoh Rug, c. 1930, natural wool and aniline dye (red), 20 feet, 8 inches. x 13 feet, 3 inches. Gift of Stephen H. Field, R2017.12.