FE Contributing author Joyce Begay-Foss will sign copies
of Navajo Saddle Blankets, followed by a reception,
at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz., Jan 17 at 2:30
pm. The exhibit runs from Jan. 17 to May 1, according to a news
saddle blankets have been largely overlooked in favor of the celebrated
Navajo rugs. Saddle blankets are one weaving form that has been
produced continuously both for Navajo use and trade, yet they have
never before been the subject of an in-depth study or museum exhibition.
The voices of Navajo weavers, traders, rodeo riders, and cowboys
will help this exhibition tell the story of these fabulous works
of utilitarian art.
story begins with the Spanish introduction of horses and saddles
to the Southwest over 300 years ago. It is a story that continues
to be written today. The exhibition will also include 37 superb
saddle blankets from the collection of the Museum of Indian Arts
& Culture, cinches, saddles, weaving tools, and vintage photographs
showing Navajo weavers, cowboys on horseback, and dude ranches and
trading posts interiors.
exhibition will trace three themes through the development of saddle
blankets, from the beginning to present-day production: the evolution
and diversity of materials and designs; the technical aspects of
weaving; and the social and economic importance of saddle blankets,
including their use by other tribes, issues of status, wealth, and
horsemanship, and the roles of trading posts, wholesalers, and markets
that extended as far as Tennessee, Kentucky, and California.
by guest curator Lane Coulter for the Museum of Indian Art &
Culture and TREX, the exhibition will appeal to all those with an
interest in Native American culture, weaving, horses, and the history
of the American Southwest. In conjunction with the exhibition, the
Museum of New Mexico Press is publishing a stunningly illustrated
book with essays by an interdisciplinary group of scholars.
the wealth of books on Navajo textiles, there has never before been
a study of these utilitarian saddle blankets, where Navajo weavers
excel in double weaves, the two-faced textiles, the twills, and
the tufted angoras. These interdisciplinary essays explore the designing
and artistry of Navajo saddle blankets, the culture of the American
West that spurred this usable art form, the utilitarian nature of
this woven craft, and the enduring demand for these textiles by
cowboys and collectors alike.
of Navajo Saddle Blankets is $50 for clothbound and
$29.95 for paperbound.