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Red Mesa Transitional Runner


Item Number: DR 604
Tribal Affiliation: Navajo
Artist: unknown
Medium: wool and vegetal dyes
Age: circa 1900
Dimensions:  34″ x 80″      weft: 26 warp: 7



This is a beautiful Red Mesa transitional runner made from hand spun hand dyed plant materials. A runner is a weaving that is at least twice as long as it is wide, and they are quite difficult to weave.  On the traditional Navajo loom, the warp that is put on the loom is continuous. It is one piece of yarn that is strung up and down from the top of the loom to the bottom, creating the foundation for the weaving. The rug will be no bigger or smaller than the warp thread.

So, when a runner is made, it requires the weaver to take the warp thread over the top of the loom and attach it to a separate bar that can be raised and lowered during the process. Then, as the woman weaves the piece, she must either roll up the bottom of the weaving or put it underneath the loom while she raises the bar that holds the top of the rug.

This runner is finely woven, soft and supple, and subtle shading down the middle and on the edges enhances to historic qualities. The red ends are not even in width –which add to the unique qualities of this 120 year old rug. This is a very interesting old rug.

Red Mesa rug history begins in the late 1800’s when Navajo wearing blankets were transitioning to Navajo rugs.  Most typically, the Red Mesa weaving design consists of a line of chevrons running down the vertical middle of the weaving surrounded by radiating serrated diamonds.  The most extreme eyedazzler effect is created by laying a line of contrasting color against a lighter or darker color.  The border of Red Mesa rugs will appear to come in from each of the vertical sides to meet the outward radiating pattern. The control of color and pattern while threading one shade after another through the standing warp threads represents a visual testament to a Navajo weaver’s patience and artistry.

This weaving measures  34” x 80″ – perfect for a hallway or lengthwise on a wall above a couch!


Condition: fine for its age- original condition- no holes or stains
Provenance: Acquired from the pawn collection at a trading post in Arizona.

Additional information

Weight 90 oz