How to Identify Navajo Textiles
This site is copyrighted; please respect that. That means that you don’t have permission to “borrow” this material for your Ebay listing, your term paper or whatever other use you are trying to rationalize (you know who you are). This information exists to provide people with a means of determining whether a textile is Navajo or not. If you want to publish this material somewhere else, please contact me for permission and please have the decency to properly cite where you acquired the information.
This section could also be called “How to Avoid Being Ripped Off on eBay”. Every morning at about 6 AM, I get some coffee, and wander out to eBay to do a simple search for the words “Navajo rug” and “Navajo weaving”. On any given day, there are 250 to 400 hits from those words. The pieces offered range from out and out copies of Navajo woven pieces (directly copied from a book no less), to real treasures that have been rescued from an attic and placed up for auction with a description like “Navajo? weaved rug” (grammar isn’t an eBay requirement).
In between, the offerings range from great pieces from reputable dealers to out and out frauds. I used to occasionally ask an eBay seller how they determined the authenticity of a textile, but I’ve got better things to do than argue with people. Rugs appearing to be Navajo can also be found in many antique stores, thrift stores, yard sales, and swap meets. I’ve also encountered people who have been given Navajo rugs that the owner no longer wanted. I don’t understand why I am never around when free rugs are being given out, but that’s a different story. Anyhow, here are some guidelines that will help you determine whether you are looking at a Navajo textile or not.
1. Most Navajo rugs do not have a fringe. By most, I mean 99.5%. If the piece you’re looking at has a fringe, you ask that seller how they determined that the piece was Navajo made. I don’t care if they think their sainted grandmother bought the rug from J.L. Hubbell, if it has fringe, it probably isn’t Navajo. Navajo rugs are warped in a continuous figure eight technique and the weaving fills the entire warp. The picture at left shows a rug being woven. If you look carefully at the ends of a Navajo rug, you will see the ends of these loops.
There are two exceptions to the “no fringe” rule. Germantown rugs have a fringe that is added on after the rug is woven. They are rare and there’s a good picture of one of them at left. The fringe on an antique Germantown may be partially worn away, or gone altogether, but this does not hurt the structure of the textile, since the fringe is an add-on. The other exception to the rule is a Gallup throw. These small pieces about usually 18″ by 24″ and are woven in the Gallup, New Mexico area. A typical Gallup throw is woven on a cotton warp, and the weaving is cut off and knotted rather than finished in the traditional way so there is a fringe on one end only. There are thousands of Gallup throws out there that were sold to train passengers along the Sante Fe railway. They make a nice addition to a collection and usually will cost $40 to $50, although I’ve seen them go for $250 on eBay.
2. Navajo rugs do not have ridges at the ends. On occasion, someone who is trying to pass a rug off as Navajo or just make it look more Navajo will take the time to actually run the warps back into the rug to eliminate the fringe, but this creates ridges in the ends of the piece. If you separate the weft yarns slightly, you’ll see the doubled up warps. The next time I see a good example of this, I’ll add a picture of it. This is very common in some Ye’i rug copies that are done in Mexico.
3. Navajo rugs often have a side selvage cord. Navajo weavers often use a twisted side selvage cord to help them maintain a straight edge. The presence or absence of a side selvage cord is not as definite an indicator as a fringe, but if the cord is there, it builds the case that it’s Navajo. Mexican weavers maintain straight sides on their pieces by using three or four warps together, or even a single very thick warp or even rope. If you see a rug with outside warps that are visibly thicker, look at the ends of the rug for fringe or for evidence that the warp ends have been sewn back in to eliminate the fringe.
4. Navajo rugs usually have a wool warp. If you’re not an expert in fibers, it may be difficult for you to tell what kind of warp was used, but in general cotton and linen are smoother than wool. Wool is, well, wooly. As you can see from the picture at the right, it has little fibers that stick out from the warp threads. Remember that there is one genuine Navajo rug (the Gallup throw) that is woven with a cotton warp. Also bear in mind that cotton was widely used as warp in the late 1800’s. Look at the other indicators to determine the authenticity of the piece, but use the fiber content of the warp as part of your authentication.
Below you’ll see master weaver Jennie Slick with a small finished rug. It’s easy to see that it has no fringe, and the side selvage cord shows up well against the dark wool in the background. This rug has all the hallmarks of a genuine Navajo rug. It is all wool, including the warp, has no fringe and has a side selvage cord.
Finally, at right, is a nice Zapotec rug. You can see the fringe at the bottom. This is the type of rug that is most often confused with a Navajo weaving, and you can see why if you don’t know about the fringe. The yarns for these rugs are often hand spun and hand-dyed and there is a great deal of skill involved in weaving them; they’re just not Navajo. The color choices are not typically Navajo, and there is markedly less pattern than you would usually see in a typical Navajo piece that is the same size.
If you need help identifying a textile, I offer that service at $20-50 per item. Please click here to send information about the textile that you’d like to know more about.
[…] [Weaving In Beauty] […]
This one, alas, is a knock off of a Ye’i design and was woven in Mexico.
The weaver would probably have called with an Eyedazzler. You may also find some who would call it a squash blossom.
This is called an optical illusion rug. They were often used as covers for pickup truck seats.
The banded rug on the top doesn’t really fit into any particular regional style. Some people might call it a saddle blanket or chief blanket design.
The one on the bottom is woven from a book called Working with the Wool by Noel Bennett and Tiana Bighorse. Noel lived in Gallup when you lived in Church Rock and she taught weaving at the library on Thursday nights, I think. It doesn’t fit any regional description.
oops 2.) is the little a one 24×10.5
2.) is 56.5x 32
This is a banded rug and the design would probably be best called either a Chinle or an Eyedazzler, depending on whose eye is being dazzled, I guess.
Hi love your website have learned quiet a bit from it.
Our family lived in the late 70s around the Church Rock area. My parents bought a few rugs from a trading post near what is now know as “Legacy Park” and from a Navajo family that did weaving, and raised the sheep and lived in a hagon. I remember the fry bread and mutton stew. My mother cant remember they’re names
I would appreciate your help if you can help identify the type of rugs that they are as they’ve been past on to me. There are 5 in total
Thank you for your time and graciousness
1.) is 46.5 x 31
Leslie, your pictures didn’t come through. You can email them to me and I’ll tell you what I can. You’ve got a free pass! I’ve had to start charging for the identifications because there were so many of them.
Greetings Mary! I am happy to have stumbled onto this site while searching for info on 2 old rugs that i have had for twenty years and would really like to know more about them. Thanks to your expertise, i know that they are not Navajo but are most likely mexican. i believe they are hand woven, both are wool. one being heavier than the other. the one w/ the images has some bright colors that i find interesting and wonder if they are unusual. any info you can give me would be appreciated and thank you for your time and generous help.
It’s a textile woven for the tourist trade in southern Mexico and Guatemala. It can be cut apart where the warps aren’t woven or displayed as is.
Greetings. Can you tell me anything about this piece? Origin and what it would have been used for. It is nearly 50″ long and is 4 squares attached with loosely woven threads. Thank you very much for whatever help you can give.
Based in the pictures in the listing, the rug is Navajo.
I love this website! I have a Navajo rug listed on ebay, which I & my husband bought at Fred Harvey’s in the Grand Canyon 1993. Another ebay member is questioning whether it is authentic, could you please look over the listing, and please let me know if there is anything I need to add to the description. I had added a link to this page (your page), but ebay told me it was a violation of their rules, so I had to take it down. 🙁
Thank you so much for your dedication & time.
Here’s the link:
I see nothing that says this rug is anything but Navajo. Although two strand side selvage cords are very common, there are many, many ways to handle them. There can be none, one, two, three and even four cords. It’s a matter of what the weaver prefers. As they say in Navajo: bisin (it’s up to her). The cord treatment has no material effect on the value.
The sun fading is another matter; it will probably reduce the value by as much as 50%.
And one last photo showing the fade
Thanks for your help Mary!
Another photo showing the end cord
Here’s another photo showing the side of the rug, where the side cord would usuall be.
I just sent a question in from the main page of your web-site but couldn’t figure out how to post pictures there — so I’m sending the same questions in from here.
First of all, I love your website — and thanks for all you are doing for Navajo weaving! I’ve been collecting Navajo rugs for several years from Crownpoint, other auctions and sometimes dealers or ebay. Normally I don’t acquire pieces without known history and the weavers name, but I just picked up a large Moki revival piece with little info. The piece is 5 feet by 7 feet. I have two questions: First, it doesn’t have selvage (side) cords, which concerns me a bit — though otherwise it appears “normal.” The sides do not feel like there are multiple warp cords in the last column — the rug is the same thickness at the side as elsewhere. Second, there is considerable sun fading on one side. How much does that typically affect the value? I’m attaching pictures and would appreciate your thoughts on whether this rug is really Navajo.
Best regards, Doug
It’s genuine Navajo and is a variant of the Storm Pattern. I don’t have size information, but in good condition, a rug like this should be worth about $100 per square foot.
Mary, This rug measures roughly 2 1/2 x 5. It is wider on one end by approximately 3 1/2 inches. I know that reduces the value, but I would still appreciate any information you may have. Thank you so much for your time and for helping identify authentic Navajo rugs.
This is a hand spun rug that was probably woven by an older weaver. It probably has an auction value of around $250 and a full retail value of $500.
Mary, This rug feels different than the others, so I’m not positive it is wool, but I still believe it is a Navajo rug. It measures approx. 2 1/2 x 5. What do you think?
This is a twill double saddle blanket. The require quite a bit of skill to weave, but for some reason they never get the auction value that they should. Figure an auction value of $350 to $600 and a retail of $750 to $800.
Mary – This rug is also in excellent condition. The first rug picture I sent is approx. 5 x 7, the second rug picture is approx. 4 x 5 and this rug measures roughly 3 x 5. Your best thoughts on value and information is greatly appreciated.
This is a Ganado Red rug and doesn’t appear to be quite as finely woven as the first two rugs. I would guess around $700 at auction and a retail in the $900 to $1000 range.
Hi Mary This rug is also in excellent condition. I would appreciate any information you could share with me about this rug. By the way, I hope your knee is healing nicely.
Hi Mary – My father recently passed away and my mother is now ready to let go of the Navajo rugs that they purchased while living in Arizona years ago. I believe these rugs were purchased in the 70’s. They are in excellent condition, never used, but stored in their home away from sunlight etc. There is no damage of any kind that I can see. I would appreciate any information that you might be able to give me about these rugs.
Molly, it looks like an authentic Navajo Ye’i rug woven in the Shiprock, NM area in the 1950’s. The dyes are synthetic aniline dyes.
I will answer your question when I have time. I am currently recovering from knee surgery.
Hello. Are you still answering questions? I see the last question posted was November 7th. I sent a question last week 1/13 that I’d really like an answer to. Thanks,
Have learned much from your site. Have a rug that has me confused. I inherited it from and others from a distant relative, (I’m way down inhertance food chain). The relative was well off and an avid collector of all things Navajo. I received several rugs from the Wide Ruin area, but this one has me confused. It does not have a fringe, it is wool, but the design, the use of yellow, and the edge wrap leads me to believe it is not Navajo. I would appreciate your input. Thanks
This is an early Raised Outline Rug. The coloration is a little idiosyncratic and there are condition issues, but it is definitely Navajo and is a nice example of the development of this style.
It’s a Hispanic weaving, probably from northern Mexico.
First of all, I’m so glad to find your wonderful web site. It is very informative and educational, and I have read all the comments with great pleasure. I have been searching on Google image and ebay for few a couple of years now(on and off). I’m trying to ID a vintage south western rug which I bought at a church sale. It is 59″ x 89″, it does has tiny fringes which probably disqualify it as Navajo, but I will leave it to the expert here. 😉 It has a combination of brown, orange, and beige color strips zig zaging across the rug with color birds in between. Any information is highly appreciated.
First of all, I am so glade to find your website which is wonderfully written and educational. Thank you for taking time to anwer all these questions which I read with great appreciation.
I have been searching online of google image or eBay to id a rug I bought at a local church sale. It is 59″ by 89″ with 7 straps of brown, orange, beige white zig zag across the rug, the base color is another lighter color of grayish brown. There are total of 31 birds in between the zig zags. The color of the birds consist of yellow, brown, light sage green, 2 tone of blue and some kind of peachy color. It was listed as a vintage south western rug, but I would love to learn more about it. Any information is highly appreciated.
I try to add pictures to the comment, but the option isn’t available. May I email them to you at the email address listed in your previous post?
I purchased a Two Grey Hills rug at Toadlena Trading in 1984. I decided to splurge and bought a rug from a master weaver. I packed the rug away years ago and sadly lost the original info on the weaver. Is there any possible way to find out the weaver of this rug by the design etc? I would be more then grateful for any suggestions!!!! Thank you
It’s possible that the current trader at Toadlena, Mark Winter, might have some insight. You can contact Mark through the Toadlenda Trading Post web site.
last pic, i swear.
sorry, those previous pics were small.
closer view of corner.
Thank you for such an informative site.
Any information about this piece would be appreciated… I can’t tell if there was once a fringe (woven back in) and if these are traditional dyes.
Thanks for confirming my hopes. Can you tell me any more about it? Pattern name? Provenance? Value?
I am delighted and thank you very much for replying to me inquiry.
For Tanya Pemberton. Yes, you do have a Navajo rug. It looks like it was woven in the 1940’s.
Reply to Susan Thomoson. Yes, it’s almost certainly a Rio Grande blanket.
And one more.
Mary, Here are a few photos to help in identifying my article. Any information you might be able to offer would be so appreciated.
Is the comment about the rug maybe being from the Rio Grande area about my questions? smile. I have an image here for you, also.
Thank you very much. Your website is extremely helpful
Yes, Colleen, it looks like Hispanic rather than Navajo weaving. Hispanic weavers use a horizontal loom and wool that is not as tightly twisted, so the way the weaving is packed is different and not quite as tight. In addition, if you look at the ends, you’ll probably find that the fringes that are present in Hispanic weaving have been sewn back into the rug. Someone went to quite a bit of trouble to make this look Navajo, but in my opinion it isn’t.
Another picture… Thanks for your insight!
Hi Mary~ I am unsure which comment was for me. I THINK it is the one about the storm pattern. I have attached more pictures.
I see that the web site did not match my answer with the comment! Here’s the answer to your question: I would have to look at it closely to be sure, but I think it’s probably from Mexico and was finished to look like a Navajo piece. The twill bands are quite unusual for either Navajo or Hispanic pieces. I think that you have the warps and wefts terminology reversed.
I’m not sure whether or not one of your responses is to my e-mail. ???
Alas, this appears to be a Hispanic knock off of a Storm Pattern. I’d have to see close-ups to be sure, but I’m about 90% positive.
I would have to look at it closely to be sure, but I think it’s probably from Mexico and was finished to look like a Navajo piece. The twill bands are quite unusual for either Navajo or Hispanic pieces. I think that you have the warps and wefts terminology reversed.
This is a weaving from the Rio Grande Valley in northern New Mexico. It is probably from Chimayo. If you Google Chimayo weaving you can learn more about it.
It sounds like a Hispanic blanket from the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico or from any of a number of weaving centers in Mexico.
Can you help identify the type and age of this rug that my friend inherited from her father-in-law’s estate? She believes he purchased it in Arizona in the 1970’s. The size is 54 X 32-1/2 inches. I will email closer views to your email address.
I have a very unusual weaving I want to get your thoughts on. This is a large blanket – two pieces sewn down the middle. It looks to be an old poncho with southwest swirl designs. I would guess it to be Navajo because of the very tight wool weave and natural dyes, but I am thrown off with the two bottom selvages that have been turned under and hemmed almost like a skirt would be today. The hemming is also very old and does seem to be original to the rug. There is also a twisted wool cord woven around the rug. The woman I bought it from said it was in a trunk with some things from the early 1900’s. Do you have an idea of who may have woven this?
Here’s the second photo….
Hi Mary, I’m trying to help my cousin identify a rug that his aunt bought in New Mexico or Arizona in the 1930’s/40’s. Do you have any ideas about it’s origin? It does have fringe.
We found these rugs @ an estate sale.
They appear to be wool…and old.
What is the meanings of the designs?
Do you have any idea where this blanket might be from?
It is warp-face weaving, about 6′ x 4.5′.There are 18 warps per inch and 4 wefts per inch. There are 7 warp selvage cords: 3 3-ply(maroon) and 4 3-ply(white).The weft selvage cords do not come through the corners, like a Navajo blanket, but appear to run around tucked in with the weft.
I have more photos if you need them.
Thank you, Michael Feldt
Hello Mary~ Thanks for this very informative site. I, too, have a rug that I believe to be Navajo. I was wondering if you would know any more about it. I have attached a picture for your review. Thanks so much!
Thanks Mary, I really appreciate your help!
This is another Eyedazzler, possibly from Kayenta. It looks like it’s from the 1940’s.
It’s also Navajo. This is a type of Eyedazzler often woven in the Kayenta area of Northern Arizona. I would say that both rugs date from the 1930’s to 1940’s.
Yes, it certainly looks Navajo. It’s not a style that’s associated with any one area.
Rug #3 is approx. 55″X40″.
And a close up of it’s corner.
Rug #2 is approx. 58″X43″
Whoops…~here~ is a close up of the corner.
In finally going through my Grandparents stored belongings, (stored since 1977), I came across 3 rugs which I believe to be Navajo, but don’t have any idea of an approximate creation date or area where made.
I really have enjoyed your site and was wondering if you could help identify these rugs and maybe an era and area where they were made?
The first rug is very heavy and approx. 56″X48″.
This one is roughly 2′ x 4′ and is said to have had the colors run when a cleaning lady put it through a washing machine in the 1970’s.
Picture 2 of 3 rugs. . This one and the brown one are roughly 4′ x 6′
Mary, My husband inherited 3 rugs from his grandmother (Alta Barth) who ran the Wigwam Hotel in Holbrook AZ in the early 1900’s. I was able to verify on the Census that she still owned the hotel in 1940. It was said that these rugs were purchased directly from the weavers in the area. There is wear around the outside edges since these were used on the floor in the lobby of the hotel. My husbands family believe these rugs to be of “incredible” value. I am interested in whether or not I should insure them. Any information you could provide would be much appreciated.
Sorry, but another for the larger view
Here is another photo
I now I understand the rug I was given is not Navajo, but it appears hand woven. Can you help me identify the source by the pictures I’m sending? Thank you so much.
Thank you very much Mary. =)
It’s also Hispanic, I think from Central America or the Ecuador-Bolivia-Peru area.
I was also wondering about this one.
It’s a piece from Mexico. It’s quite detailed compared with other pieces of this type. I would agree that it’s probably pre-1930’s. It was woven in two panels and then stitched together. Someone who works with Hispanic pieces could give you some idea on the value of it.
Here is a closer look at the bottom.
I got this from an antique store. The people that worked there knew nothing about except they thought it was 1900s? Any info would help.
I really didn’t see the fringes until you pointed them out. Yes, they are part of the rug and they are an exception. I thought at first that what you have was used as a saddle blanket. The bleed that you see could be the result of that usage, but the piece is too large for that. The fringe on the right side of the picture is markedly different from the fringe on the left side. On the left is a twisted fringe treatment that you very occasionally see in older saddle blankets. I think that the end on the right side unraveled and the fringe was knotted there to stop further damage. If you look at the pattern of the rug, you’ll see that the slanted black boxes on the left aren’t there on the right hand side. My view that it is Navajo is further supported by the side selvage cords, which would be almost impossible to do on a horizontal loom like those used in Mexico and New Mexico.
Are the fringes on this rug an exception to the rule about fringes? They appear to actually be part of the rug not added on.
It’s Navajo. I would say that it was woven in the 1950’s.
Here is what it looks like full. measures 52″x 87″
Hello from flagstaff. I bought this at a estate sale. Nobody claimed it was a Navajo rug but it looks like it could be??. Just wanted to see what you thought.
It’s absolutely Mexican. The fringes have been threaded back in. if you fold the ends over I think you’ll see that there is more than one warp thread behind many of the wefts.
Here is a picture of the whole rug.
The attached pictures are of a rug “screwed” to the wall in the break room where I work. in Las Cruces, NM. The story goes that a previous Dean gave it to the library about 30 years ago after a trip to Juarez. Only thing is, it doesn’t look like Mexican work. As far as I can tell the warp is a figure 8, not woven in. The yarn is hand spun with lots of vegetable matter. But I think the color pallet is wrong. What do you think. If it is the real thing, it really needs to be conserved properly.
It’s a kilim type flatweave from the Middle East. Someone who deals in Oriental rugs can give you a better idea of value and origin.
Can anyone help me identify the orgin of this blanket? It’s about 6ft by 4ft.
Is there anyone who can help me identify this blanket. I can’t seem to find a similar example anywhere. The size is about 6ft by 4ft.
Here is another picture of the blanket without the light behind it.
I have a friend who’s mother recently passed away and this blanket was one of her possesions. I was asked to help sell some of her belongings to help cover expenses and this is one item that he thought might have a decent value. Is there any chance that someone can help identify the orgin and give a rough guess of the value. I’m sorry about the quality of the pictures, they were taken with my phone. Thank you. The blanket is about 6ft by 4ft.
Thank you so much for your reply. I never would have guessed!
Linda, I would need to see more pictures to estimate the repairs, but the cost would probably exceed the worth. It is an Old Style Ganado rug, probably woven in the 1920’s.
Leslie, this is a Pendleton shawl, a machine woven textile from Oregon.
My mother purchased this blanket in Maine and passed it along to me. I have some higher-quality Mexican/Rio Grande rugs and weavings, but they differ markedly from this blanket. The blanket is very fine wool, not thick but very well crafted. The edge (where I can see it) is the same thickness as the blanket itself. The bottom and top edge is turned over and I can’t see how it is finished. The foundation threads are a natural ivory brown, and the blanket seems to have what in rugs is called “abrash”, with subtle variations in the red that is not uniform and varies every few rows. The crochet looks like a later add-on from non-wool thread to make the two matched weavings into a coverlet for a small bed. There is no dye bleed between the colors. I can’t thank you enough for any information; I’m just trying to get an idea of age and if it is a Native American piece rather than a Mexican item.
This rug belonged to my mother who obtained it from her brother in about 1937. It was being used as a seat cover in his Model A and was old at that time. I was given the rug in the late 70’s to use as a horse blanket. There is a lot of wear and several holes in it and I’m wondering if I should have it repaired or if the cost of repair will exceed the worth of the rug. I’ve attached a photo. Also is this a Ganado?
I do agree and I suspect that it was woven in the 1930’s, but could go back into the 1920’s.
This rug goes back at least into the 1920’s and probably further than that. It’s an early pictorial, probably woven near Shiprock, NM.
There are small battery poweredfabric shavers that can be used for this purpose. You can usually find them at stores like Jo-Ann and Micheal’s. I found one at Amazon for about $8.
Thank you Mary. Your site is extremely informative and I really enjoy reading your posts.
One more quick question – Is there a safe way to remove pills from a rug (like the pills you get on a well worn sweater)?
Yes, it’s a Chief Blanket variant. It combines elements of the Third Phase Chief Blanket with what are called Moqui blankets, which have black and blue stripes and are associated with the period when many Navajos were indentured servants in Hispanic homes in northern New Mexico.
Linda, do you have a picture that shows moreof the rug? From what I can see, it certainly looks Navajo woven.
Oops doesn’t look like one of the pictures came through. Here is a picture of the rug itself.
I just purchased this rug from a local family who received it as a wedding present. The rug didn’t fit with their decor so they decided to sell it. (For the life of me I can’t see why but I think it was a lucky find for me)
The paperwork with the rug indicated it was weaved in 1991 by a Marie Gaddy and was originally sold at the Indian Ruins Store in Sanders,AZ.
It looks to me like it has all the makings of a true Navajo rug but I’m not at all sure what the pattern is the closest I can some is possibly a variation of a Chief’s Blanket. Can you identify the rug for me? I’ve included a couple of photos which might help .
Here is another picture of the horse and rider rug
Thanks for the useful information. I have a rug that was given to me by grandmother in the 80’s it has been in a box and like new. measures 55X70 is wool and a great picture of horse and rider. Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
It’s difficult to sat for sure, but based on what I can see, it is not Navajo. It looks like it may have been woven in the Middle East.
HI I am wondering if this is a navajo rug it is small 30 by 38 inches and here is a photo has a few holes and the wool feels a little rough not soft. Can you tell me anything about it?
This old rug saw years of service on the floor in the home of family friends. I can absolutely date it to pre-1940 but no more exactly than that. It is closely woven, about a worsted weight wool, gray black and red, measures about 54″ x 80″ not perfectly rectangular. Family lore alway made it out to be Navajo. Do you agree? What is the pattern called? Any info will be very much appreciated.
Well, from what I can see, no Navajo weavings were harmed in the production of the chair covers, but some Indian dhurries were. Dhurries are flat weaves and share some design elements with Navajo weaving as well as with kilim weaves done in many parts of the Middle East.
I live in Victoria B.C. Canada.I found six of these at an estate sale in Seattle.They are about 36 inches square. Unfortunately, as you can see, they have been cut to use as chair upholstery. I know nothing about rugs but a couple of people have suggested that they are Navajo.I have sent two more images to your email address. What do you think?
You can send the pictures to my email address at email@example.com.
That would be wonderful. Here is a close up of a corner with fringe. I hope they will help. Regardless of where it is from, the wild colors have really grown on me and look good in my daughters room.
I took a few pictures, but it looks like I can only add one at a time. Let me know if you would like to see any others. I took one of the back, too.
Thank you for the help!
Katy, thank you for the kind words about the site. Although you sent me a high resolution picture, there are some details that I can’t see well enough to tell you definitively what your rug is. To do that, I need a clear close-up of a small area of the weaving, say about six square inches. I would also like to see close-ups of the fringe area at both ends and a close-up from the sides of the rug that don’t have fringe. My first guess is that the piece was woven in the Middle East and that it’s actually a kilim or soumak, but I can’t tell for sure. What an interesting story and an interesting textile!
UPDATE: Katy, I can say definitively that it is not a Navajo weaving, but I can’t tell you what it is. The fringes on the ends look like they were added after the piece was finished, but they look like they match some of the yarns that were used in the construction of the rug. The design geometry doesn’t look Navajo at all, but the design, technique and coloration don’t really match with any of my reference materials from the Middle East, although I suspect that we’ll find out that it’s some type of soumak from somewhere in the Caucasus. I’ve submitted the pictures to an appraiser’s group that I belong to and usually somebody recognizes the item after about a week. When I find out, I’ll let you know.
Here’s what Ii can tell you
• The yarns all look hand spun
• The fringing appears to have been added after the piece was woven
• The closest the I can come on technique is soumak, but I can’t identify a region where the weaving may have been done
• It may have been USED by a Navajo as a Sunday saddle blanket, which is what I thought it might be when I first looked at it
I’ll let you know when I find out anything else.
I’ve enjoyed your website. I stumbled across it last night while trying to get some history on a rug we have. My husband’s grandmother bought it from a Navajo in 1927 while traveling out west. He was always under the impression that it was an authentic Navajo rug, but once I read your website, I realized it is not. Could you leave me in the right direction as to where it might be from?
Thank you for your time,
I’ve enjoyed your website. I stumbled across it last night while trying to get some history on a rug we have. My husband’s grandmother bought it from a Navajo in 1927 while traveling out west. He was always under the impression that it was an authentic Navajo rug, but once I read your website, I realized it is not. Could you leave me in the right direction as to where it might be from?
I have enjoyed your website and knowledge greatly. I am asking my Pauite husband today if he will help me build a loom. I have always wanted to build a rug of love or story for my children. Hopefully he will help me..
UPDATE: I finally determined what my rug is after seeing pictures of almost identical rugs online with same symbols. It is a Tribal Persian Kilim rug. It is not a Zapotec. It is flatwoven and made of both cotton and wool .
Hi Mary, I am in NYC. About 4 years ago I found a folded rug that was among some trash on a curb near Broadway. Embarrassing but true. It is definitely woven,not printed.I took it home because it had an ethnic look to it. The rug is very thin and measures 8’3″ X 5’6″, the rug and its fringes feel and look like cotton not wool. It is definitely woven,not printed. I thought it was too pretty to step on so I kept it folded in the closet instead of using as a rug.I am now looking at it again and have done some internet research for 2 days. I think it is a Zapotec (or a fake Zapotec). It has symbols of crosses and birds on it. I don’t know what the pointed symbols are (trees? arrows?). I would greatly appreciate any information you can provide. Thank You. I love the Navajo rugs shown on this website, they are gorgeous. I wish I could fly to the Indian markets and buy the framed miniatures and the rug with the horses on it!
THANK YOU MARY KIND REGARDS
I should have called it a soumak stitch. You can read more about it here. It’s a form of weft wrapping and usually done with a needle. Someone who deals in Oriental rugs could give you a better idea of the origin and value.
It’s not a Native American piece. It comes from the Middle East probably from northwestern Iran or Azerbaijan.
also you say needlepoint but the back of appears more like a rug than a needlepoint and there was no patterned sheet it was woven on
any ideas on what tribe may have hade it?
It is not Navajo. It’s a needlepoint design.
Hi, Can anyone help me identify this rug? it is small and an odd shape not being totally square. 19 1/2″ by 17 1/2 by 17 1/2″ by 17 1/2″. thxs
It is clearly not Navajo. I think it was woven on some kind of a Jacquard loom (an industrial loom), so it may not meet the definition of handwoven.
Hello-does anyone have information on our old rug/coverlet? Picture shown
The photo is of a 6′ x 7’7″ piece. As you can see, it has some damage. 10 years ago I sewed it to a teepee pole which seems to be supporting it nicely. The rug is made of somewhat coarse (but consistent) wool. The warp appears to be white wool and the selvedge edge warps are of equal thickness. At each end a heavier final weft spirals through the warp loops. I expect it is Navajo but have been unable to determine from where or when. Your observations would be much appreciated. What dyes would have been used for the red and the dull gold? Can you suggest how we might find someone to repair the damage and clean it, someone whose work would be of a suitable high caliber?
Answer: It’s an early Two Grey Hills rug woven between 1910 and 1930. Please contact me directly for information on repairs and appraisal.
Susan, based on what I can see of the design and the wool, this rug dates back to at least the 1920’s but was more probably woven between 1900 and 1915. The practice of splitting a motif into different color zones is one that goes back to the Transitional period (1868-1890) and suggests that the weaver or the person that she learned from wove blankets during that period. The weaving is in good condition considering the age. It isn’t possible to tell where it was woven or to determine the name of the weaver. I hope that helps!
Really like your website and all the information! Was hoping you could help us. We’ve had this rug for years and don’t know anything about it. Could you please tell us what we have and how old it might be or anything else you might know about it? It measures approximately 67″ x 54″ Thank you very much.
It’s a little hard to tell for sure, but it looks like a saddleblanket style, probably 1920’s-1930’s.
My grandfather left me a Navaho rug or throw, I don’t know what I have. Could you help me. Size is about 3 X 5. gray and dark blue in color. I’m sorry these are the only pictures.
David sent me some pictures, and we found that his rug is dhurry from India or Pakistan.
Love the website and the info. Hate to ask, but I also have rug ID question. Inherited this several months ago, and I have not a clue about warp or weave or anything related to rug making. Ive been to several sites just looking for info, and had no luck. Not really finding pattern match. It is 5’4″ by 7’9″ and if you have any info that would be great. Even if it’s not Navajo, I love this rug and it has become a perfect addition to my home:)
Thanks for your time,
I have suggested that Thomas contact Mark Winter at the Toadlena Trading Post.
Judy, it looks at least 30 to 50 years older than it was when you got it, making it 70 to 90 years old. it’s hard to be more specific with out a more detailed look at the wool. It probably came from the Two Grey Hills area. The decision on conservation is very personal. If the goal is to sell the rug, I advise people to leave that decision up to the next owner. I’d need more detailed pictures to estimate the repair costs.
I have had this rug (approx 7×4) for 40 years and it was supposedly old when I bought it in Salt Lake. It is a wee bit worn and needs to be mended, but I wanted to know if it was worth the investment.
My wife and I purchased a Navajo rug or tapestry From the Red Rock Canyon Trading Post located at the base of Bryce Canyon National Park where I was a seasonal naturalist in the late 60,s. We were told that the weaving was a Two Gray Hills done by Susie or Lucy (Tom) who was mentioned in the Arizona Highwys of c. that time. Could you help us with how to obtain the verifcation and identity of the weaving. I understand that the Susie Tom family would like to purchase the return of their weavings.
Sincerely, Thomas R. Ford
John, I don’t see a picture. You can post it with another comment or send one to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thought this was a Navajo rug, but the pattern seems not quite right. Any help would be appreciated. I will keep the rug because it is attractive to me.
Philip, please send me a picture of the blanket so that I can tell you for sure. It sounds like a blanket from Mexico or the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. My email address is email@example.com.
Just wanted to know where this blanket might have been woven. It was given to my father in the early 1950’s. It has a fringe and it has a midline seam that makes it look double woven. Any clues. I do not want to sell it.
Another close up picture…the rug is about a 5 foot by 7 foot
We just inherited this rug and was wondering if you had any idea where it comes from. Thanks for any input!
Your weaving is a kilim. They are woven all over the Middle East and the weaving style is even used in parts of eastern Europe. Someone who works with Oriental rugs can probably tell you more.
I recently purchased a 19″x50″ blanket, it is beautiful but I don’t believe to be Navajo. The warp is not wool might be cotton. Where the pattern changes color, they do not interlock, there is actually a gap or opening in the blanket? The ends are damaged and coming unwoven. I’d love to know what I actually have? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
If it’s that similar, it is probably also from Mexico and not Navajo.
This is rug was woven in the Saltillo area of Mexico. It is not Navajo.
This is similar to my Grandmother’s rug…hers has a large yellow blossom in the middle and is about 8×6 feet.
I know she bought it at the Gallup Trading Post in the mid 50’s. I always thought it was Navajo, but if you find out what your is, could you let me know?
Added the website link in this email…..Thank you…..Ben.
Hi, I bought a Large Indian design blanket this last weekend at Estate sale. Was wondering if you might be able to help me identify who might have made it? I will add pic below to see if you might be able to help me…I just didnt know enough about it to call it Navajo, after reading your articles..This is my ebay page link if you want to look at more pics to help you…mtr1309a……………Thank you for your time….Ben.
Thank you for the kind words on the site. If can send along some pictures, I may be able to give you an idea of what you have.
Thank you for providing this valuable information. I am northern Paiute and was born about 10 miles from where almost all Panamint baskets were made. I have an extensive collection of Panamint baskets, both from Death Valley and the Owens Valley, however, I have no knowledge in Navajo textiles. When my mother passed away, I inherited a large truck with many early textiles in it that belonged to my grandmother, I do not know how or where she obtained these textiles. I would love to be able to identify just what I have, it is not practical to travel around with a large number of textiles looking for assistance. Your suggestions or comments are most appreciated, and thank you again for providing the information in your website.
Thank you for your very informative information. I have a smallish rug that I got from my Dad before he died. He lived in Arizona for many years and purchased a rug with a “roadrunner as the subject. It appealed to me a lot but we have never had the right place to keep it. I’m thinking of sellng it now.
It’s 28″ wide by 32″ long. has no fringe but 4 braided ties that exit from the corners and are each about 4” long. The body of the rug is medium gray, it’s divided into 3 sections in the pattern. The road runner is in the middle section has black legs, tail and head except for white spot for eyeball and brown center for pupil. Body is rust colored wing is reddish brown.The bird is in an exaggerated speedy looking position — kind of like you’d expect the cartoon character to be looking like.
The rug is in very good “like new” condition and appears to be done very well. I’m sure it is wool. I think my Dad purchased this in the late 60’s or 70’s. It is dramatic and can stand alone as art.
This type of textile is most probably not a Navajo rug. The only type of Navajo textile that’s seamed is a biil dress. You most likely have a piece that was woven in Mexico or New Mexico. Some of these are joined with extreme skill and are quite valuable.
What about a rug that is seamed down the center? It appears to be original with the weaver and done extremely well.
Thank you for this information. Tho I live in Saratoga ,N.Y. I’m hooked on the beautiful
weavings from the Southwest,esp.Navajo. My pocket book is small so all I can afford are small weavings 24″x30″ and smaller. I have Purchased directly from the weaver (3) pcs. &
found another (5) in antique shops and flea markets from NY to FLa and across the south.