Navajo Pictorial Rugs and Blankets

Navajo Pictorial Rugs and Blankets

Navajo pictorial rugs are those that incorporate representational images of people and objects into the woven design. Such weavings were rare before the 1940s - and are often quite valuable today. These early pictorials would typically incorporate small elements (feathers, arrows, animals, and the like) into a larger geometric-patterned design. More Navajo weavers began creating pictorial rugs after World War II, often making textiles with one complete scene instead of simply using isolated representational objects. Since the 1970s, popular Navajo pictorial designs include landscapes with mountains or cliffs, trees, sky and clouds, hogans, pickup trucks, livestock, and people. Also widespread is the Tree of Life pattern, which features a cornstalk growing out of a Navajo wedding basket and has birds nestled in the cornstalk leaves.

It is important to recognize that the symbolism depicted in Navajo pictorial weavings typically has no specific spiritual meaning; these images are simply objects or scenes familiar to the weaver. The notable exceptions are Navajo Yei rugs, which include elements derived from Navajo cultural ceremonies. However, even these weavings do not depict entire sacred images; they only feature certain pictorial elements that the weaver was comfortable sharing.

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Would you like to learn more about authentic Navajo pictorial rugs and blankets? We invite you to view these videos by Medicine Man Gallery’s CEO, Dr. J. Mark Sublette.

Read more about authentic Navajo pictorial rugs and blankets in these articles from Medicine Man Gallery

Navajo  Pictorial Rugs and Blankets at Medicine Man Gallery

Navajo Pictorial Rugs and Blankets

In this article you will learn about Navajo pictorial blankets and rugs, what characteristics makes these weavings collectible, and see many examples - both from vintage Navajo blankets to contemporary Navajo rugs. Read more...

Pictorial Navajo Rugs

Collecting Navajo Rugs from Native American Art magazine

In this article, Medicine Man Gallery owner, Dr. J. Mark Sublette, discusses the diverse types of Navajo rugs, including Navajo pictorial rugs. Read more...

Navajo Pictorial RugNavajo Rugs-Part 2, originally published in Western Art Collector magazine

Dr. J. Mark Sublette, CEO of Tucson’s Medicine Man Gallery, provides an overview of Navajo weaving with discussions of both Navajo pictorial rugs and Navajo sandpainting rugs. Read more...



Medicine Man Gallery CEO, Dr. J. Mark Sublette, is a leading authority on antique Navajo rugs and blankets. The gallery is located in Tucson, Arizona and has one of the largest collections of authentic Navajo textiles, including Navajo pictorial rugs and blankets.

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