Northern and Eastern Reservation
Two Grey Hills • Crystal • Burnham
Shiprock • Teec Nos Pos • Round Rock
Lukechukai • Many Farms • Chinle
Priscilla Warren, Navajo.
Here is a choice selection of superior Navajo Indian rugs from trading posts throughout the Northern and Eastern Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico. All are genuine, handmade weavings, made by Navajo weavers, using mostly handspun, native wool and vegetal dyes.
Navajo Rugs and Weavings have made the transition from utility to a Native American art form. Traditionally, Navajos seem to have the innate ability of bringing order to extremely complex geometric designs, all of which are miraculously held in their heads and executed as they weave. Look at these presentations and you'll see what we mean. Some represent classic designs, some represent avant-garde approaches. All can be appreciated.
A Navajo rug is a work of art, and should be selected because you appreciate the design, color and texture. They are not cheap. When you consider the time, however, you are looking at a bargain. If the weaver shears her own sheep, cleans and cards the wool, spins the yarn, dyes the yarn, and weaves the textile, the total time represents the equivalent of about two square feet of rug per week.
Following are a careful selection of regional rugs we have collected by traveling the Northern and Eastern reservation. We hope you enjoy viewing them as much as we did when we selected them.
To order, call 1-800-401-1192, 1-520-529-5545 if you are out of the United States, or go to our
- All dimensions are approximate. -
Item # R88 - Burnham, woven by Alice Begay, Navajo.
Woven from hand spun Churro wool, Alice titled this textile, "Going to the Dance." It depicts four Navajo couples, dressed in their finest, on their way to a dance. The Navajos are a very sociable people, and often spend a night dancing and eating and socializing together.
Alice is one of a group of five sisters that began the Burnham style weaving. (Burnham is an abandoned trading post just east of the Two Grey Hills area.) When their mother died, to support the family, the older girls turned to traditional weaving. Led by Anna Mae Barber, the oldest sister, the girls developed an entirely new style of weaving in the early 1980s. The women began to experiment with combining different Navajo patterns and pictorial designs, while using hand spun native wool. The result is the Burnham style, every one different but connected by a single family's vision. A few years ago, they began using wool from the reintroduced Churro sheep, a Spanish breed then nearly extinct in the Southwest. This distinctive, long-fibre wool gave them another innovation to add to their style. (The Churro were the original sheep brought to the Southwest by Coronado in 1540.)
Size: 20" high by 36" wide.
Item # R94 - Burnham, woven by Helen Begay, Navajo.
Helen, a sister of Alice Begay, is another of the five sisters who who "invented" the Burnham style of weaving. As with all Burnhams, this textile is woven from hand spun, Churro wool. Helen calls this textile, "Feather Dance," her interpretation of a scene from one of the Navajo wedding ceremonies. The dancers each hold a Navajo rug as a wedding gift; their spirits float out of Navajo wedding baskets. They are surrounded by feathers, and stand between rows of corn, a Navajo life symbol. A very imaginative textile.
Size: 17 1/2" high by 31 1/2" wide.
Price: $1,125 SOLD.
Item # R143 - Burnham, woven by Helen Begay, Navajo.
Helen's title for this textile is "Basket Dancers." This is Helen's interpretation of a scene from one of the Navajo wedding ceremonies. Helen shows five Basket Dancers, each holding a Navajo wedding basket, facing the bride. Additionally, she has woven in corn plants on each side, signifying fertility and good crops; a feather plume staff by the bride for steadfastness; and a Rainbow God on each side, a sign of good luck and protection. Helen has used curves to give added dimension to her figdures. Again, as with all Burnham textiles, this one is woven from hand spun, Churro wool. Typical of Burnhams, they portray some scene from the Navajo life.
Size: 19" high by 33" wide.
Item # R97 - Burnham, woven by Sandy Begay, Navajo.
Sandy is the youngest of the five sisters who who "invented" the Burnham style of weaving. This is a very unusual Burnham pictorial. She calls it "Yeis Are Here," her interpretation of a scene from one of the Navajo Night Chant healing ceremony. The Night Chant is a nine-day ceremony. On the last night, dancers take the part of the Navajo gods, the Yeis. When humans take the costumes of the gods, they are called Yei-bi-chais. In this dance, the procession is led by "Talking God," who Sandy shows on the left. In the ceremony, he is followed by a Yei-bi-chai and a woman, alternating down a line of several dancers. What Sandy is picturing the Yeis, shown in grey, just before they transform into Yei-bi-chais. The tableau is surrounded by a corn-plant guardian,. As with all Burnhams, this textile is woven from hand spun, Churro wool.
Size: 23" high by 35" wide.
Item # R18 - Navajo Pictorial, woven by Elizabeth Yazzie, Navajo.
In this weaving, Elizabeth depicts the traditional Night Way Yei-bi-chai chant. An outstanding example of the Yei-bi-chai pictorial, 58 Navajos are shown, plus numerous animals, hogans, etc. The line of dancers are shown in profile, with one leg bent, as if dancing. The Night Way ceremonies occur after the first frost in the fall, and are considered very powerful in bringing about healing. This is a wall-hanger, destined to be someone's conversation piece.
Approximately 34" wide by 62" long.
Item # R137 - Pictorial by Ella Mae Begay, Navajo.
This small pictorial shows a Navajo ranch nestled below the canyon rims in the background. Eunice shows two Navajo women neighbors, and a man herding sheep, their cattle, hogan and house.
Size: 17" vertical by 14" horizontal.
Price: $285 SOLD.
Item # R144 - Animal Pictorial by Florence Riggs, Navajo.
Florence is a member of the famous Nez Family, a group of weavers that live around Tuba City, AZ, an area in the western Navajo Reservation. These weavers graphically illustrate desert and mountain animals in their pictorials. In this beautiful pictorial, Florence shows ten animals–a mountain lion, two cub bears, a doe deer, a skunk, a coyote, a mountain sheep, a beaver, a red fox, a rabbit, and a tree full of song birds. We asked her about the water being in this desert scene. Her answer was, "Haven't you ever seen the Colorado River and the rock monuments, near Moab?" This three-dimensional style of pictorial utilizes rounded shapes for added depth. Florence first draws her designs with a magic marker onto the warp threads, then plies and dyes her weft yarns to give added depth and texture.
Size: 25" vertical by 32" horizontal.
Price: $2,400 SOLD.
Item # R102 - Pictorial, Yei-bi-chai, by Zonnie Gilmore, Navajo.
The Night Way, or Night Chant, is one of the best known Navajo healing ceremonies. Throughout this nine-day ceremony, Navajo gods (Yeis) are implored to heal the subject. On the last night, humans take the form of the Yeis. When they do this, the human representations are called Yei-bi-chai. As in this textile, the leader of the group is Talking God, shown talking to a woman, the subject of this healing ceremony. Talking God appears in a white face mask, while they other Yei-bi-chai appear in blue masks. The last member of this line-dance is Coyote, or Trickster. Zonnie has placed the rocks of Monument Valley in the background, with the starlit night sky above. This a finely woven, high thread-count textile.
Size: 21 1/2" vertical by 20" horizontal.
Item # R131 - Sandpainting, Mother Earth, Father Sky, by Luana Tso, Navajo.
Here, Luana has woven the classic sandpainting of Mother Earth and Father Sky. Within the body of Mother Earth are representations of the four sacred Navajo plants–corn, beans, squash and tobacco. Within the body of Father Sky are representations of the sun and the moon, and major constellations. This sandpainting is from the Male Shootingway, a sacred Navajo healing ceremony. Click here to go to our section describing sandpainting textiles.
Size: 36" vertical by 38" horizontal.
Price: $1,900 SOLD.
Item # R129 - Yei Pictorial, by Kathryn Begay, Navajo.
The Yei textiles were one of the first styles to appear in pictorial weavings. Yeis, who are supernatural Holy People, Gods, are sometimes drawn in the sand paintings used in Navajo healing ceremonies. There was an obvious transition from sand paintings to textile patterns. Yeis are the intermediaries between the Navajos and their Gods, and are supposed to restore health, physically and spiritually. Here, Kathryn shows seven Yeis. The Yeis are holding strings of prayer feathers, which could mean that they are performing in a healing dance.
Size: 25" vertical by 40" horizontal.
Price: $1,350 SOLD.
Item # R147 - Yei Pictorial, by Kathryn Begay, Navajo.
This is a large and exceptionally well woven textile, 70 weft threads per inch. (Weft, horizontal threads.) Katy has woven six Yeis, each holding a string of prayer feathers in each hand. She has used sacred corn plants between the Yei figures. To the Navajo, corn plants represent food and good health. Early-day weavers copied the Yei figures from the sand paintings that Navajo medicine men used the their healing ceremonies. However, weavers are quick to point out that their figures are strictly interpretations, thus avoiding the Navajo taboos of copying sacred sand paintings. Yeis are the intermediaries between the Navajos and their Gods, and are supposed to restore health, physically and spiritually. The several groups of borders on this textile are intricate and beautiful.
Size: 42" vertical by 62" horizontal.
Item # R33 - Navajo Sandpainting Textile from the Mountain Way Chant, woven by Christina Ross, Navajo.
This is an exceptionally fine sandpainting textile taken from an allegory in the Mountain-Top-Way Chant, the Great Plumed Arrows Sequence. The weaver, Christina Ross lives in the Two Grey Hills area, and often weaves sandpainting textiles. She is one of the most recognized on the Reservation, today. The background is a light brown, made by mixing together brown and white wool, as she hand carded her wools. Thus the background is all handspun Navajo wool with some Churro wool mixed in. Commercial yarns have been used in some of the colored design areas. This textile is woven very tightly, with approximately 36 weft threads per inch. According to the Mountain-Way myth, the "hero" visits the home of the Mountain Gods at Wide Chokecherry. They give him one of the Great Plumed Arrows and taught him the dance of the great plumed arrows, actually arrow swallowing, part of the "vaudeville night" on the last night of this nine-day ceremony. For a longer explanation of this ceremony click to go to "The Mountain Gods, Great Plumed Arrows Narrative."
Size: 55" wide by 76" long.
Price: $6,500 SOLD.
Item # R55 - Navajo 4-in-1 Tapestry, woven by Anna Mae Tanner, Navajo.
This is one of the treasures on the Navajo textile art. Here, Anna Mae Tanner has woven a four-in-one textile with near-tapestry yarn count, approximately 60 weft threads per inch. In the top left pictorial, she has woven characters from the Yei-bi-chai healing ceremony. The lower left is a storm pattern design, using natural colors of white, black and blends of grey. The top right corner is a representation of a Two Grey Hills design. The lower right is a sand painting design from the Fox Dancers ceremony. Anna Mae Tanner, now deceased, was regarded at one time as one of the top 10 weavers on the Navajo Reservation. Her peak period of weaving was in the 1970's and 1980's, a time in which she won many awards at major shows, including the Gallup, NM, Indian Ceremonials. She was best known for her sandpainting textiles. She lived in Oak Springs, AZ, a community south of Window Rock, AZ. This textile is designed to hang vertically.
Size: 54" wide by 60" long.
Price: $16,000 SOLD.
Item # R107 - Two Grey Hills, woven by Sandra Henderson, Navajo.
This well woven, Two Grey Hills textile follows the classic style–a central diamond shape pattern, using natural-colored wools of white, black, brown and grey. Yarn is handspun. This is an exceptionally well woven piece.
Size: 30" wide x 43" long.
Price: $2,500 SOLD.
Item # R138 - Two Grey Hills, woven by Alice Yazzie, Navajo.
Alice has used handspun wool in this Two Grey Hills textile. As with most of the Two Grey Hills weavers, she raises her own sheep. When you travel through the reservation, you can always tell where the weavers live, by watching out for her flock of sheep. This is a beautifully woven textile, using naturally colored wools.
Size: 21" wide x 32" long.
Price: $780 SOLD.
Item # R60 - Two Grey Hills, woven by Irene Kuh, Navajo.
This well woven, Two Grey Hills textile follows the classic style–a central diamond shape pattern, using natural-colored wools of white, black, brown and grey.
Size: 23" wide x 30" long.
Price: $700 SOLD.
Darlene is a member of the well known Littleben family, a group of several weavers in Norther Navajo Land famous for their Teec textiles. She has used one of the classic border styles, with two central patterns. Colors in the weaving are exceptionally vivid.
This style, developed after the turn of the century, is said to have been influenced by a local missionary, "Mrs. Wilson." The idea was that rug sales could be improved if the weavers catered to the then popular taste for Persian carpets in the Eastern U. S. The first designs were her interpretations of "Persianesque" patterns. Whatever, the Teec style is typified as having very intricate designs, and trend towards more flamboyant colors. Recently, colors and complexities of design have been subdued for more compatibility with contemporary tastes.
Size: 27" wide x 37" long.
Price: $1,450 SOLD..
Item # R139 - Chief's Blanket Revival, woven by Priscilla Warren, Navajo.
Priscilla Warren is a young Navajo weaver, and one of our favorites. Typically, she concentrates her weaving on interpretations of Chief's Blanket revivals, as shown here. The weavers around Shiprock, NM, have been weaving the "Chief's Revival Blanket" style for some 15 years. They are bringing back the simple but elegant designs found in historic textiles of 150 years ago. Today's weavers, like Priscilla, use the same colors that weavers did then–cochineal (red) and indigo (blue). The white, of course, came from cleaning the natural wool. Today, the weavers use commercial dyes to duplicate the colors of the historic weavers. Before aniline dyes, the historic weavers had a very limited color pallet, red, blue, white, black, and mixtures of these colors.
Size: 28" wide by 36" long.
Price: $750 SOLD.
Item # R141 - Chief's Blanket Revival, woven by Ofelia Joe, Navajo.
Navajos have been weaving "blankets" for several hundred years. Anglos have classed Chief's Blankets into three phases, appearing during the first half of the 19th century, 1800 to 1860. Here, Ofelia has used a classic third-phase design, characterized by diamond shapes and stripes. She has used the limited color palette, reds, blues and natural wool colors. Classic Navajo blankets were big enough to wear, and big enough to give the owner a warm night of sleep. Today, of course, the pattern is there, but not the size. (A side bar--Navajos had no "chiefs," but these blankets were prized by northern tribes and their chiefs.)
Size: 20" wide by 32" long.
Price: $480 SOLD.
Item # R155 - Navajo Chinle Regional Design, woven by Mae Morgan, Navajo.
Mae Morgan was born in 1924, near Crownpoint, New Mexico (north and east of Gallup). She doesn't know the exact date, as there were no records kept at the time. She attended "first grade" and then was told by her family that there was no more school. Instead of school, from that time on, she spent her days herding the family's flock of sheep. Even at this young age, she was left by herself in the pastures for several days at a time. Her mother taught her to weave when she was about 12 years old. After that, she spent her "free time" weaving. She raises her own sheep, shears, cards, spins and weaves her textiles. For colors, she still dyes her own wools, mostly with vegetal dyes, or utilizes the natural colors of the wool. If you would like a genuine, all natural Navajo rug, at a reasonable price, here is your opportunity. This beautiful textile has a maroon on grey pattern against a light buff background. Remember, this all wool from her own sheep, dyed, carded and woven by Mae.
Size: 22" wide x 33" long.
Item # R156 - Navajo Chinle Regional Design, woven by Mae Morgan, Navajo.
As a young girl, Mae Morgan's home was very traditional Navajo. In her teens, she was married; her dowry was 12 sheep. Mae raised three children, and at her insistence, all of them went through high school. The traditional Navajo family is matrilineal; and as the major provider, she supported her family with her weaving, and with her sheep. She still weaves and is self-sufficient. Here, Mae has used hues of brown and grays on a light buff background.
Size: 22" wide x 33" long.
Price: $450 SOLD.
For an expansion of the Navajo weaving tradition, click below:
- Recommended reading - Check Amazon.com. They stock most of these titles.
- American Indian Textiles, 2,000 Artists, by Gregory Schaaf, CIAC Press, $110.00 (hard back);
- Navajo Weaving, Three Centuries of Change, by Kate Peck Kent, School of American Research Press, $18.95 (paper);
- Treasures of the Navajo, by Theda Bassman and Gene Balzer, Northland Publishing, $12.95 (paper);
- A Guide To Navajo Weaving, by Kent McManis and Robert Jeffries, Treasure Chest Books, $9.95 (paper);
- Navajo Rugs, How to Find, Evaluate, Buy and Care for Them, by Don Dedera, Northland Publishing, $14.95 (paper);