I admit, a few days ago, I knew nothing about Navajo Rugs but we recently purchased a large estate collection of Navajo items from the 1970s. 99% of the collection is jewelry but the rugs………well………I had to do some studying just to get a general idea of how to describe these. The family who inherited the collection graciously provided me with some information from their mother’s notes and there are tags on a few of the rugs. Also, luckily, we have some friends who have collected Navajo Rugs for 40 years and they pointed me in the right direction.
These rugs are from the 1970s to 1990s. Unlike most Navajo rugs which are the same on both sides, this style of the rug above has a front and back. The front has more vibrant raised outlines while the back is more subdued.
The New Lands design, also called Blue Canyon, was first seen at the trading post in Sanders, Arizona. Trader Bruce Burnham recruited dye experts to develop the colors and gave kits to local weavers to try out. The name is derived from the area around Sanders which is referred to as New Lands as many residents were relocated there from traditional homelands.
The design is a derivative of a Teec Nos Pos design but having more complexity. The pattern is enhanced with a raised outline. These are often large, expensive rugs.
New Lands patterns incorporate a combination of pastel colors similar to those in traditional Burntwater rugs. These are warm earth colors, sometimes as many as 20 colors including brown, sienna, mustard, and rust with accents of rose, green, blue, white and lilac.
As the name indicates, an Eye Dazzler rug keeps the eyes moving over the busy, bright geometric patterns. This pattern is also called Optical Illusion and it is one of the earliest styles of Navajo weavings. Rather than being used as rugs or blankets, they were most often wall hangings, chair covers, room dividers or table runners.
Klagetoh means “Hidden Springs” and is the name of a small settlement south of Ganado, New Mexico. A Klagetoh rug is similar to the classic Ganado red rug but it has a predominately grey background. Usually a Klagetoh is an elongated diamond shaped design.
Hand woven in grey, red, black, gold, and white on the order of Teec Nos Pos which means ‘Circle of Cottonwoods’. There are several Teec Nos Pos designs, often using stylized arrows, feathers, lightning, squash patterns and a general pattern of zigzags.
So this time, I’m asking for feedback from any of you who are Navajo Rug experts !! Please let me know what you know !