Second Phase Chief’s Blanket -Late Classic
During the time of the 17th Century, the Navajo people started sheep herding and making their own wool. They picked up the skill of weaving from the Spanish settlers and their neighbors, the Pueblos. With tremendous skill and time, the Navajo women had exceeded in their weaving that they surpassed the Spanish and pueblos. The Navajo rugs/blankets became a prized sensation throughout the western part of the United States. Chief blankets were worn over one shoulder and the other tucked the underside of the shoulder. The blankets were served as coats during the day and by night they used it as blankets. The blankets were also valued for their beauty, and also a highly Native American individual would wear it proudly for special ceremonial occasions. They were so expensive that only chiefs or other high individuals can only afford them. In 1850, the Navajo weavers began to add red rectangles to their blanket designs. The beginning of a 2nd phase Chief Blanket some of the weavers used the red from a bayeta cloth that was made in England and later some from Spain and Mexico. The bayeta was dyed by the cochineal beetle, then later it was called the cochineal dye. It came in rich shades of rose to a dark burgundy color. Here in the southwest there are no plants that will give you a rich red color that won’t fade. Churro Wool, reds are 95% Bayeta, 5% American Flannel.