Moki - An Enduring Navajo Weaving Design
Moki is a Navajo weaving style characterized by Indigo Blue and Dark Brown bars. Starting in the 16th century, the Spanish began introducing horses, sheep, and textile weaving to the Pueblo tribes in the Southwest (eg. Hopi and Zuni). The Navajos had adopted the practice of weaving by the 1700s, if not earlier. This is considered the beginning of the Classic Period of Navajo weaving.
As the practice of weaving spread, indigo blue dye (derived from the indigo plant) became a popular trade item from the Spanish to the Navajo. This paved the way for the Moki design to emerge. The Moki design is one of the oldest designs in Navajo weaving and we have archaeological evidence dating to around 1750. The Navajos borrowed this design from their Pueblo neighbor, the Hopi tribe. The word "Moki" was an informal name that the Spanish called the Hopi peoples. When the Navajo borrowed the style and integrated it into their weavings, they continued to call this style a Moki, or in other words, a Hopi-style design. Early Mokis would have just been the blue and brown bars. Overtime, Navajos continued to use this style but superimposed more and more elaborate red designs on top of the Moki background. We have classic Navajo blankets with Moki designs dating back to 1870 and we are still purchasing contemporary Navajo weavings with Moki designs. The Moki design is one of the most enduring style and color choices in all of Navajo weaving as we can see examples from 1750 all the way to the present day. View some example below of both antique and contemporary Navajo weavings that incorporate the Moki style.
Moki Serape Blanket, circa 1875
Hand Spun Wool, Indigo Blue Dye, and Aniline Red Dye.
Moki Serape Blanket, circa 1890
Hand Spun Wool with Aniline Blue and Red Dyes.
Moki Germantown Serape Blanket, circa 1890
Germantown Plied Yarn in Red and Purple.
Contemporary Moki Blanket Revival
Processed Wool with Aniline Red and Blue Dyes by Ofelia Joe.
Shop Moki Weavings
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