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What are some common designs of Navajo Indian blankets?

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Quick Answer

Common Navajo Indian blanket designs include wide stripes, serrated diamonds, rectangles with stripes, angled diamonds and stepped diamonds. Sandpainting, twill-weave and two-faced designs are also common for Navajo blankets. These basic designs typically consist of primary reds and blues and warm earth tones such as brown and beige. Some Navajo blanket designs are named after Indian regions, such as Teec Nos Pos, Chinle and Ganado.

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Full Answer

Historically, woven Navajo Indian blankets were made for both function and fashion. Indians wove blankets and rugs to decorate their homes, clothe their chiefs and delineate tribes. Mantas, the most common type of Navajo blanket, are short and wide. Typically worn as wrap dresses, mantas are vertically woven with bright colors.

Traditionally, Navajo blankets were woven with handmade wool thread, and Navajo mothers and daughters worked together to clean, spin and dye the wool. The women would then weave the wool thread using a vertical wooden frame loom, creating wide, horizontal patterns.

Navajo Indian blanket patterns changed throughout the years as tribes became concentrated in small reservations, causing their traditions to merge. The blanket's general uses also changed, as the invention of railroads and other methods of transportation gave them commercial value outside the reservations.

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