3rd Phase Chief's Blanket by Janice Vanwinkle (Navajo)
The Chief blanket is the earliest known pattern. The name derives from "the high status of those Pueblo and Plains people to whom the Navajos (who do not have chiefs) traded them." A Guide to Navajo Rugs The Chief rug styles developed in 4 stages through the late 18th up to the late 19th C. The first phase rugs were simple banded rugs typically woven in blue, black, brown and white. The transition to Second phase blankets are noted by the addition of a red yarn which was procured by un-raveling an imported cloth known as bayeta. Second phase blankets also incorporated small blocks of thinner stripes within the larger stripes. Third phase blankets tend to be even more complex and traditionally were composed of stripes with diamond and half-diamond shapes. Weavers frequently added other elements such as zig-zags, crosses, thin lines and triangles inside these diamond shapes. Contemporary Chief Blankets tend to be variations of these phases although the red, blue, black, and white palette and stripes across the entire weaving remain characteristic.
This rug measures 26 inches by 46 1/2 inches.