At many of the stops along the Canyon De Chelly you will find Native Americans selling Native American art jewelry, etc.
What to buy: Native American artifacts. They may even be authentic.
What to pay: Bargin, bargin, bargin. You can probably get it cheaper if you try.
Navajo are famous for fine weaving. Their rugs, in design and color, are renowned not only in US.
According to the myths, when Navajo finally arrived in the Southwest ages ago, led by the Holy People, Spider Man taught them how to make a loom with sunshine, lightning and rain. Spider Woman taught them how to weave. The wool used is from the churro sheep, known for long, fine and shiny wool, which is then hand-spun later on. For coloring, they mostly use plant dyes, but for some colors also industrial made dyes.
In the beginning of their weaving, the finished textiles were mostly for the day-to-day use, such as blankets for the homes and horses. Later on, the rugs were also made for wallhanging or carpets.
The motifs and styles vary from region to region, among them also storytelling.
Todays’ patterns shown and sold are mostly of the style of “Two Grey Hills”, “Ganado”, “Crystal”, “Chinle”, “Teec Nos Pos”, “Storm Pattern” and the mentioned storytelling (mostly with Yei figures) or the “Tree of life”.
What to buy: Make sure, you buy rugs with certificates, at a known dealer. Fakes are not uncommon, and you won’t like the idea of having payed much money for a rug which was made in China or Ukraine….
There are several characteristics to find out – the most important one is that they are made out of thick wool (which you should feel) and not out of polyester or a mix.
The best website I found to learn more about the characteristics is this one:
Navajo rugs – learn the characteristics
Teec Nos Pos rugs are a bit more of the oriental style, with multi-colored outer pattern and a complex symmetrical design inside. Not the squares as they are typical for Two Grey Hills for example.
If you are intrested to learn more about Navajo rugs, their history and their designs – just drop me a line please. I am thinking about writing an album on Navajo rugs on my Arizona page.
What to pay: Navajo rugs are not cheap. Depending on the size, calculate with 300-400 USD minimum for a size of 1,5 m x 1 m.
I got mine for 200 USD, however, this was in 1995.
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