Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99
Length: 63.000 cm
Width: 40.000 cm
Gift of Susan and Jim Larkin
Room 26: North America
Dyed handspun wool textile, woven by Barbara Jean Teller Ornelas
Navajo, AD 1985
From south-west North America
The Navajo became sheep-herders after the Spanish arrived in the Southwest in 1598. They learnt weaving from them, or from the neighbouring Pueblan peoples. However, according to Navajo mythology, Spider Woman introduced weaving.
During the first quarter of the twentieth century a number of regional styles developed. Many of them are associated with trading posts. These retail outlets distributed Navajo textiles across the United States after the arrival of the railroad in around 1880. This example, woven in naturally-dyed handspun wool, is in a style called Two Gray Hills.
J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)