Navajo Double Saddle Blanket

28" x 60"

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This double saddle blanket belonged to a Navajo tribe and features a duel pattern. Woven from wool, the blanket features a multitude of brilliant patterns and colors. The first half is done with black, red, and white thread, as well as touches of blue. It shows four horse heads in the four corners of the pattern, each of them encompassed by a black frame. The second pattern features four white eight-pointed stars, all of them with a blue center. The blanket measures 28″ wide and 60″ long. A double saddle blanket like this one would have been folded in once over itself when being worn. Saddle blankets were used both to protect the horse’s back, and to frame the rider in the saddle.

The Navajo were originally hunters by trade, but adopted farming in later years, primarily cultivating corn, beans, and squash. Eventually, the Navajo took in herds of sheep and goats, which became a very integral part of Navajo culture. It was at this point that Navajo women taught themselves to weave, using the wool from their shepherd’s flocks. The size of one’s herd quickly became a status symbol in Navajo society, and weavers developed more intricate and complicated techniques for use in their craft. These woven items, often blankets and clothing, would be used in trade between the Navajo and fellow tribes, or sold to European settlers. At the height of their influence, the Navajo occupied the area making up modern day Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Item #: 0017