Navajo Transitional Weaving, ca. 1890

Value (2008) | $8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction

In the very early '60s, my grandfather had passed away, and my father made me and some of the other family members go to his house to clean the basement out, and this, along with a lot of other, we thought, junk was just laying on the floor in the basement. And it was going to be thrown away, and I, being 12, 13 years old, I dragged it home. And I think it's a Navajo rug. That's how I came across it. Later years, I learned that my grandfather and his brother, they were both architects and they worked for different mapping companies and they dealt with railroads, and I'm sure that's where it came from.

Well, what you have here is indeed a Navajo weaving. After the Navajo were weaving garments for their own personal use and before the actual rug period started in about 1905 or so, there was a period of about 20 or so years of transitional weaving. The yarns are homespun yarns. The dark brown is natural yarn color, and the cream is a natural yarn color. All the red within the weaving is actually a commercial synthetic dye...


which they used commonly in that time frame. It was woven on an upright loom, and it's very pictorial. One of the best icons of the American West is pictured right in the center of your weaving-- the steam locomotive. You see the barber pole striping right here used for the train tracks as well as for these design elements right here are taken from early Navajo wearing blanket designs. This weaving is from the Crystal area on the Navajo reservation, which is on the western edge of the state of New Mexico. This weaving dates to about 1890, and you'll see that there are some diagonal lines right here. And then one over here. These diagonal lines are called weaving termination lines. And as the weaver sits in one spot, she weaves out as far as her arms can hold her, and then she moves over and she fills in the areas where she left off. So you get these diagonal lines. The weaving has a bit of damage. You have some spotting going on here. You have some red dye that has bled into the weaving and some spotting over in here. Because of the condition, this particular textile would probably realize a value, at auction, between $8,000 and $10,000.

Eight and ten?

Yes. If the weaving were to be successfully restored, this weaving could probably realize a value more of $12,000 to $15,000. Okay. On today's market.

Okay. Thank you so much.

You're welcome.

Appraisal Details

Joan Caballero Appraisals
Santa Fe, NM
Appraised value (2008)
$8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Tribal Arts

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