Native American Art / An exceptional Navajo Germantown weaving
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Dewey Galleries, Santa Fe, NM
The magazine Antiques, 1993, Brandt Publications, New York
The Berlant Eyedazzler Serape, circa 1880, Tony Berlant, Santa Monica, CA, exhibited in The Berlant Collection of Navajo Blankets, the Osaka Art Museum, Osaka Japan, 1984; illustrated in Berlant and Kahlenberg, Walk in Beauty, 1977, New York Graphic Society, Boston
The comparison of these two important Navajo Germantown weavings can be made for obvious reasons. Though eye-dazzlers are a relatively common theme from the Germantown period, the complexity in these truly stands out. Moreover, the imitation of striped textiles from Mexico's North places them in the "rare breed" category with our blanket possibly claiming the title for the most variegated, and effectively eye-dazzling, blanket of its time. In an opinion of the current blanket written in 1990, the noted scholar Dr. Joe Ben Wheat wrote the following:
"The blanket depicted in the transparency you sent me is, indeed, a remarkable piece of weaving. It is a veritable tour-de-force making use of just about every Germantown yarn that was available at the time. I do not recall ever having seen a Navajo blanket of this complex an all-over design before, although I have seen a few with small areas, such as borders, as complex.
It would seem clear that the Navajo who wove this had, at least, seen, and probably studied the shaded yarn effect used in contemporary Saltillo, and other Mexican weaving, to produce the shaded diamond or lozenge figures composing the concentric and interlocking diamond motif in her own blanket...Based on the design and color palette I would date the piece about 1885 plus or minus five years. It was certainly woven by a master of the craft."