This is beautiful natural wool rug was purchased as a regional Sunday Saddle Blanket 40 – 50 years ago. Although it is not woven to the preferred dimensions of a double saddle blanket, it is quite close in size. (Saddle blankets typically come in two sizes: single saddle blankets and double saddle blankets. A single saddle blanket fits underneath a saddle without folding and usually is in the range of 30” square. Double saddle blankets are meant to be folded in half lengthwise before use and are roughly about 30” wide by 60” long). Since the saddle blankets were woven on the same looms as regular Navajo rugs and blankets, there is some variation in finished sizes. This one is a little shorter and a little wider than the typical double saddle blanket. The design is quite nice and encompasses the entire blanket. There are three diamond designs centered on the rug and stair step angles above and below each diamond. The colors are the traditional natural wool and vegetal dyes of the black, grey, brown and cream.
Saddle blankets occupy a curious niche in the history of Navajo weaving. They are the only type of textile that was simultaneously popular among Anglos, Hispanics and the Navajo themselves. Consequently, saddle blankets have an esthetic and technical history very different from that of the ubiquitous Navajo rug. From at least the 1880s on, Navajo weavers made three general classes of saddle blankets: simple, striped pieces; more decorative blankets with borders; and ones called Sunday or “fancy” blankets with complex overall patterns. This saddle blanket falls in the category of a fancy saddle blanket with an overall pattern of three diamonds design– a complex design of geometric patterns, usually based on a large diamond s with multiple geometric borders.
Condition: Excellent- original condition – never been on a horse, always treated as a rug and hung over a kiva ladder or the back of a chair
Provenance: Acquired from my private family collection in Texas after being purchased from the weaver.