This month’s Rug of the Month is this outstanding Burntwater Navajo weaving by an outstanding weaver, Evelyn Yazzie. It has a nice discount for the Month of May only.
Check out Nizhoni Ranch Gallery‘s upcoming Woven Holy People show from February 28th to April 2nd 2016.
Mark Your Calendar
NIZHONI RANCH GALLERY presents ‘WOVEN HOLY PEOPLE’
The most important show of the Navajo Yei weavings since the Wheelright exhibition of the 1980s.
OPENING Sunday February 28th 2016
Reserve your space for the Opening Day with Steve Getzwiller. firstname.lastname@example.org
Woven Holy People February 28 – April 2nd 2016
The largest and most in depth collection available for sale. Over three dozen weavings will date from the 1920’s to the present. Yeis, Yei Be Chei and Sandpainting textiles.
While patterns like the Yeibichai, Yei, Tree of Life, and other culturally significant symbols have their origins in Navajo sandpainting rituals, eye dazzler rugs were always meant primarily to do just what their name implies: dazzle the eye through intricate patterns and vibrant colors.
During the Transitional Period, approximately 1880-1900, Navajo weavers began weaving textiles that were meant for commercial sale, not just for personal and tribal use. Navajo weavings were initially used as blankets, but as the market grew for these traditional weavings, they transitioned to being made more for use as rugs and wall hangings. Mill-spun yarn also became widely available at this point, meaning that weavers suddenly had access to more finely spun and brightly colored yarn, and therefore could weave more complex and colorful patterns.
Eye dazzler rugs incorporate geometric designs and bold colors–things that apparently appealed to those early trading post owners and tourists as much as they do to our modern eyes. These weavings can provide a beautiful accent piece in your home either as a rug, wall hanging, or bed cover. Because their bold designs and bright colors can be used as a complement to a range of styles – from traditional Western to organic modern – we think these are a great entry into Navajo rug ownership.
If you have any questions about eye dazzlers or specific rugs, please contact Charley at charleysnavajorugs.com.
We are very excited to announce that an article about Charley was recently published on the Cowboys and Indians magazine website. This is one of our very favorite magazines, so we were thrilled that they were interested in Charley’s story and his motivations for starting Charley’s Navajo Rugs. It’s not everyday that a bareback rider-turned-accountant starts a rug company, so we can see why they thought their subscribers would be intrigued.
Head on over to the site to check out the article.
The Yei symbol is a frequently used pattern in Navajo rugs. In Navajo mythology, the Yei spirits mediated between the Great Spirit and humans (the name Yei derives from Yeibicheii, meaning the Holy People. Yeibichai rugs depict the ceremony in which dancers attempt to call the spirits). Yei spirits were believed to control natural elements such as the rain, snow, wind, and sun and to have healing powers.
In paintings and weavings depicting the Yei spirits, male deities are generally pictured with round heads and female deities with square heads. This distinction does not always hold true, though. In some cases, round heads are given to the more dominant spirits, regardless of gender. And there are other clues you can look for to determine whether a spirit is male or female. For instance, crooked lightning is often seen on the male spirits. Colors can also indicate gender, with black and yellow more associated with male figures and blue and white with females.
It can be considered sacrilegious to weave in the eyes and mouths of the Yeis, so these are often embroidered on after the rug is woven. In fact, these rugs were initially considered sacrilegious in general. Yeis were initially depicted in sandpaintings that would be erased at the end of the ceremony, so when weavings depicting the deities began to be made in the 1930s, there was some controversy over turning this ritual into a permanent and commercial art form. However, other Navajos argued that it was important to preserve the traditional art of sandpaintings through permanent sandpaintings and weavings.
We think that these beautiful weavings are a wonderful way to honor the spiritual beliefs of the Navajos and to preserve traditional symbols and myths. If you have any questions about specific Yei rugs, please contact Charley at email@example.com.
For a very detailed overview of the various Yei legends, see this very informative post from Twin Rocks Trading Post.
Charley’s Navajo Rugs started 7 years ago as a kind of happy accident. While Charley always loved Native American art and its connection to the Old West, it was never his plan to make a business out of it. He has owned a successful CPA firm in small-town California for over 30 years, and he still considers that his “day” job. But this is only one part of Charley’s history: before he ever entered the accounting world, he was a bareback rider in the rodeo.
“I always loved the West,” says Charley, “It held a lot of attraction for me from a young age, and I loved watching Western movies. That led me to the rodeo—and I had a lot of fun doing that.” But once he had to hang up his rigging, he started looking for other ways to immerse himself in that historical period, and he fell in love with the beauty and history of Navajo rugs.
After learning about and purchasing many Navajo rugs as a hobby, he realized that he could share his knowledge and collection with a larger audience by opening a business. He was excited to start Charley’s Navajo Rugs as an online retail store, which allows him to sell his rugs at very reasonable prices compared to a brick-and-mortar retailer.
He currently sells authentic Navajo rugs worldwide, and he is constantly on the hunt for rare, high-quality rugs to add to his collection. He travels throughout the western United States every year, making new friends, catching up with old ones, and continuing his education on these unique pieces of art.
“We cater to the true collector and Native American art afficianado,” says Charley, “But we also increasingly see customers who are just drawn in by the beauty of the rugs themselves.” The current trend toward pared-down, modern décor that emphasizes high-quality natural materials is a perfect fit with the flat-woven, colorful wool rugs that CNR specializes in.
So happy anniversary to Charley’s Navajo Rugs! Here’s to another fantastic 7 years.