IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Digital Exhibits

Regional Styles

Navajo Rug
Farmington-Shiprock Yei style Rug
Emma Bia, maker
Bequest from Elinor and Vincent Ostrom

The creative and technological innovations of the nineteenth century lead to the development of several recognizable styles of woven textile.  Scholars and collectors have since named these styles according to the trading post or portion of Navajoland from which they originated.  Within these localized categories, textiles are far from homogenous; they vary, of course, according to the available materials, technical skill, and creative vision of the weavers.

Some of these styles can be recognized by a specific treatment of color or line, others by the presence of locally identifiable design motifs or geometric patterns, and others still by the care and quality of their craftsmanship.  Regional identification is further complicated by the frequency of cultural exchange, between different craftspeople on the reservation and within the larger world of textile design.  Today, localized design tradition is weighed against the preferences of buyers in commercial markets and the aesthetic tastes of the individual craftspeople.