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Influences on a Living Art Form
Terminal 2, entry way and three display cases pre-security
The Diné, or Navajo, are the largest Native American tribe in the Southwest. Their weavings play a prominent role in the image of the American Southwest. Having settled into the Four Corners area of the Southwest by the 1500s, the Diné gradually began to weave cotton clothing and blankets similar in style to their Pueblo tribe neighbors.
The Spanish would soon make their way to the Southwest changing the cultural and economic landscape with the introduction of sheep. Further interactions with the Spanish and Mexicans would not only influence design motifs but introduce wool into Diné weaving. Their mastery of weaving resulted in blankets sought out for trade by other Native American tribes. The end of the 1800s brought railroads making the remote area more accessible for commerce. The Diné met the growing tourist demand for Native American crafts by weaving decorative rugs for sale instead of items for personal use. As trading posts popped up on the reservation, their owners influenced designs by promoting those that would appeal to tourists and their customers back east.
Today, Diné weavings are sought out by collectors as a fine art craft. Weavers continue to meet the demand with innovate designs influenced by modern technology and current events. Cultural traditions shaped by historic influences Interwoven with the weavers’ own personal experiences make this A Living Art Form.
Image Caption for photo above:
Unknown, Navajo Blanket Weaver (Elle of Ganado) near South Rim Grand Canyon, 1920s, digital print from traditional photograph, courtesy of the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives, Fred Harvey Company Photographs
Image Caption for photo above right:
Elizabeth Yazzie, untitled, 2000, pictorial wool weaving, 36 x 48”