Stereograph of a Navajo woman weaving a rug. The stereograph of the Navajo woman weaving a rug was created between 1905 and 1910, based on its first known publication. An original negative is in the collections of the California Museum of Photography, UC Riverside. The image was published in the following Keystone Company guides: Keystone Primary Units, Stereographic and Lantern Slides, Indians of the Southwest. Meadville, Pa., Keystone View Company, c. 1905-1910, and Laura Zirbes, Teacher's Guide to Keystone Primary Set. Meadville, Pa., Keystone view company (1927).
The original title of "Old Navajo Indian Woman Making a Rug" was changed to "Elder Navajo Woman Make a Rug" per the request of Lynda Pete and Barbara Orneles on October 13, 2017.
"The chief occupation of the Navajo women is carding and spinning wool, and weaving it into blankets which are widely known for their excellence. Some of the old Navajo weaves seen in museums and private collections are almost priceless. They are practically indestructible, and will hold water, so closely are they woven. These old blankets are absolutely all wool, both warp and woof. The tourist trade has helped to ruin the ideals of this, as of other native industries; nowadays the warp is often common cotton twine, while the weave is much looser, and the blanket will not hold water. The soft colors of the native vegetable dyes of old days have also given way to the cruder hues of dyes obtained from the trading-post. The most highly prized rugs of all are made from "bayetta", a very fine cloth first imported by the Spaniards. In later years, they are made from the shredded red cloth of British military uniforms. This is picked to pieces, respun and rewoven, and a blanket is made from it which, for color and texture, has never been surpassed. The blanket patters are literally number[l]ess, and are chiefly of a highly conventionalized nature, mesas, wind, and so on. There are also many geometrical patterns in which the cross and the diamond are conspicuous. The Navajo loom is primitive, but quite practical, and is set up inside the "hogan" as shown in the picture, or, perhaps under the shade of a large cotton tree, if one is near." Keystone View Company