Navajo Chief's Blanket, ca. 1870
This photo here. This is a member of the family. His name was Richard Priugham. And along with a letter where he was applying for Indian agent in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, area.
And that letter is dated?
That's July 9, 1880. According to the information I have, which has been passed down through the family, Richard traded the five pounds of sugar for this blanket with the woman that actually did the weaving of it.
That's terrific. This is an actual what we call "late Classic Navajo third phase"-- and that's because of the way these diamonds are laid out in the middle here-- "chief's blanket." Your letter and your documentation here really corroborates the dating of this. And the way we can tell that is the design, number one, but also the materials. This is a mixture of hand-spun goat wool, but also in the red area, a type of wool that is called bayeta that the Navajo women actually got from Spanish traders, and they unraveled this bayeta cloth and rewove it into their textiles. Another way we can date this is this wonderful natural indigo dye. The way these blankets were worn... and if you'll help me take this down. If you just hold that there. The chiefs would wear these in their dances, and that diamond would be right down the middle. Do you think it's worth more than five pounds of sugar?
Oh, yeah, very definitely there.
Well, this blanket today would easily command between $20,000 and $30,000.
Is that right?
I think it was a pretty good investment for a bag of sugar.
Yeah, it certainly was. (laughs) It'll definitely be an heirloom through the family.
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