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    The Navajo transitional period, between 1880 - 1900, describes the period where Navajo weavers were transitioning from weaving blankets to weaving rugs. In the 1880s, as trains ventured westward, they brought trade goods like machine-woven blankets. These affordable and warm alternatives to hand-woven Navajo blankets became popular, even among the Navajo people themselves. Consequently, the demand for traditional Navajo blankets waned.

    Nevertheless, trains also brought tourists who sought Navajo blankets as decorative items for floors, beds, and walls. This shift in consumer preferences transformed the purpose of Navajo weaving from functional blankets to aesthetic bed coverings, floor rugs, and wall hangings. Transitional weavings retained their soft texture, as the artisans were accustomed to crafting blankets and were still using the soft wool from Churro sheep.

    Antique transitional weavings are highly sought after by collectors. These pieces maintain the intricate designs of traditional blankets, utilizing the soft, long-staple churro wool introduced by the Spanish. The emergence of vibrant aniline dyes during this period enabled weavers to create rugs with striking, vivid colors unique to this era. This combination of factors makes transitional weavings a significant and enduring aspect of Navajo textile history.

    Read more: The Fascinating History of Navajo Rugs: The different periods of Navajo Weavings
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