Navajo weavers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 24 pages of information about Navajo weavers.
the slender stick referred to without a moment’s hesitation, making the web at the rate of 10 or 12 inches an hour.  When the web has grown to the point at which she cannot weave it further without bringing the unfilled warp nearer to her, she is not obliged to resort to the clumsy method used with blankets.  She merely seizes the anterior layer of the warp and pulls it down towards her; for the warp is not attached to the beams, but is movable on them; in other words, while still on the loom the belt is endless.  When all the warp has been filled except about one foot, the weaving is completed; for then the unfilled warp is cut in the center and becomes the terminal fringes of the now finished belt.

The only marked difference that I have observed between the mechanical appliances of the Navajo weaver and those of her Pueblo neighbor is to be seen in the belt loom.  The Zuni woman lays out her warp, not as a continuous thread around two beams, but as several disunited threads.  She attaches one end of these to a fixed object, usually a rafter in her dwelling, and the other to the belt she wears around her body.  She has a set of wooden healds by which she actuates the alternate threads of the warp.  Instead of using the slender stick of the Navajos to elevate the threads of the warp in forming her figures, she lifts these threads with her fingers.  This is an easy matter with her style of loom; but it would be a very difficult task with that of the Navajos.  Plate XXXVII represents a Zuni woman weaving a belt.  The wooden healds are shown, and again, enlarged, in Fig. 58.  The Zuni women weave all their long, narrow webs according to the same system; but Mr. Bandelier has informed me that the Indians of the Pueblo of Cochiti make the narrow garters and hair-bands after the manner of the Zunis, and the broad belts after the manner of the Navajos.


[Illustration:  FIG. 59.—­Girl weaving (from an Aztec picture).]

Sec.  XI.  I will close by inviting the reader to compare Plate XXXVI and Fig. 59.  The former shows a Navajo woman weaving a belt; the latter a girl of ancient Mexico weaving a web of some other description.  The one is from a photograph, taken from life; the other I have copied from Tylor’s “Anthropology” (p. 248); but it appears earlier in the copy of Codex Vaticana in Lord Kingsborough’s “Antiquities of Mexico.”  The way in which the warp is held down and made tense, by a rope or band secured to the lower beam and sat upon by the weaver, is the same in both cases.  And it seems that the artist who drew the original rude sketch, sought to represent the girl, not as working “the cross-thread of the woof in and out on a stick,” but as manipulating the reed-fork with one hand and grasping the heald-rod and shed-rod in the other.

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Navajo weavers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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