Treasures in Wool
Since the 17th century, Navajo Chief Blankets have been prized possessions. These early weavings were commonly called "Chief Blankets" because they were so expensive, and it was thought only the chiefs of other tribes, or other wealthy Natives and traders could afford them. These Chief Blankets costed anywhere from a month's salary to nearly a year's worth of wages for most individuals of that time. Their warmth and durability made them sought-after blankets amongst Native tribes and U.S. military leaders. Chief Blankets stopped being created when demand collapsed due to the arrival of cheaper machine-woven blankets brought by the railroads in the late 1800s. Because of this, Navajo weavers gradually transitioned to weaving rugs rather than blankets at the turn of the 20th century. Now there are few Chief Blankets remaining in good condition and they are highly collectible. Chief Blankets found today are classified under two time periods (Classic and Late Classic) and three phases of design (First Phase, Second Phase, and Third Phase).
This collection includes authentic Navajo Chief Blankets from the 19th Century as well as modern revivals of the Chief Blanket designs.