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Navajo Rugs

Authentic Navajo Rugs

Navajo rugs have held a special place and prominence at the Cameron Trading Post since it was established in 1916. Native American blankets, and later Native American authentic Navajo rugs have always been a part of the culture. The Navajo have traditionally woven the finest Navajo blankets and Navajo rugs and one doesn’t think of the Native American Indian art of Arizona without the image of the Navajo woven Southwestern rug coming to the fore. Cameron Trading Post is proud to offer a fine collection of antique Navajo Southwestern area rugs and blankets, as well as a wide selection of contemporary Navajo rugs hand picked for quality and variety. These Navajo rugs are unsurpassed in their beauty and technical skill. Patterns in the Southwestern rugs seen today are historically based in the antique Navajo rugs of the past. The intricate designs and natural colors seen in a Navajo Southwestern area rug is a culmination of influences from the early Indian trading posts, early Mexican colonists, and aspects of white American design culture, but all these the Navajo have incorporated and made their own. It is difficult to speak of the Native American rugs of today without addressing antique Navajo blankets and Navajo history. The Navajo, among all the weavers of Native American blankets, have throughout history been considered the masters in weaving.

The history of Navajo rugs is a long one that has threatened to end many times, and yet has still revived. Native American blankets, rugs and weavings of the Pueblos all suffered declines & revivals, but no Southwestern rug or blanket has ever rivaled the Native American blanket of the Navajo in popularity. Navajo blankets and rugs were renowned items of Native American art throughout America even before the Revolutionary war!

Manufactured Southwestern rugs and Native American blanket designs began to replace true Native American Indian rugs and blankets around the turn of the century. Indeed, prior to 1900, it could be said that Native American Indians did not weave rugs, but wove blankets exclusively. The shift from Navajo blankets to rugs was necessitated by the times and facilitated by the traders. Because the native market for Native American blankets was disappearing, trading posts began to encourage Navajo rugs from the weavers; a heavier product than the Native American Blanket incorporating popular designs among Eastern tourists, No Indian trading post or Indian lodge was complete without a sprawling Southwestern area rug on the floor as part of its Southwestern decor.

Traders made sure that Easterners had access to Navajo rugs that could be displayed as an ‘honest to goodness Native American Indian rug from the Wild West’ on the wall, or a real Southwestern area rug in the living room. Some enterprising traders began marketing their Southwestern area rugs in catalogs!

Around 1900 the Navajo blanket transitioned to the Navajo rug and with each decade, this category of Southwestern rug has increased in beauty and technical excellence. Contemporary Southwestern rugs and antique Navajo blankets, both have their own unique appeal to collectors of Native American Indian rugs. The Cameron Trading Post endeavors to offer the finest of both authentic Navajo rugs and blankets, and contemporary Southwestern area rugs for the collector. Navajo Southwestern rugs today are woven in the much the same way as the antique Navajo rugs and blankets of the past. No pattern is used beyond that conceived in the weaver's mind. The time once spent in shearing, carding, spinning, and dying the wool is often now regained in the use of pre-dyed wool that can be purchased in the trading posts. This yarn, after a few more spinnings, can be readily used allowing the weaver to spend more time in the complexity and sublimity of her design. The time saved also makes many of today's Navajo and Southwestern area rugs more affordable. But many Navajo still prefer to shear their own sheep and make their own yarn and so that tradition remains. Native American Indian rugs today are categorized by design into Southwestern area rug regions. Two Gray Hills are renowned for their fine weave of all natural wools. The Storm Pattern of Cameron’s regional Navajo rug is prized for its vibrant and powerful design symbolizing the beauty and fury of the storm. Vegetal dyes, many discovered or recovered in the last 50 years, lend their soft and pleasing pastels to the Navajo rugs of Crystal, Chinle, and Wide Ruins. J.L. Hubbell, Indian trader at Ganado did much to revive Navajo weaving at the turn of the century and many of the Navajo rugs from that region still display the dark “Ganado red” as popular today as it was then. No matter your regional preference, Southwestern area rugs of all regions are available at Cameron Trading Post. Navajo rugs, Southwestern rugs, antique Navajo rugs and Native American blankets can all be found here. If you don't see what you're looking for, just let us know and we'll help you find it!