Dating indian blankets
Both the banded and diamond pattern homespun blankets of the late 19th century are generically known as Transitional Blankets because they signaled the end of Navajo blanket production and ushered in the era of the Navajo rug.
By the 1890s, the internal demand for Navajo weaving was almost non-existent.
These early weavings made before the 1870s are very rare, bringing tens of thousands of dollars-or more-from collectors and museums.
The so-called Chief’s Blanket is a specific style of manta that went through a distinct design evolution.
Blankets made of these colorful yarns are generically called Germantown weavings after the town in Pennsylvania where much of the yarn was produced.
The use of Germantown-type yarns ceased shortly after 1900.
Mantas and serapes were generally used in the same way: wrapped around the shoulders with one long edge turned over as a “collar.” However, mantas also were used by women as wrap-around dresses.
Serapes only rarely had a slit in the middle for the head which made them ponchos.
Navajo weavers made both the manta and serape styles during the eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries along with shirts, dresses, breechcloths, and sashes.
Banded Blankets made with simple stripes of contrasting color were descendents of the earliest Navajo weavings.
A more complicated type of design was derived from Hispanic Saltillo serapes which featured brightly colored patterns of serrated diamond shapes.