Southwest Textile Time Periods

April 9, 2014

Influenced by historical events, temporal and stylistic periods are approximations and vary to some degree between the Pueblo, Navajo, and Spanish-American textile traditions. Therefore, some overlap occurs between the date ranges as designated here for textiles of the American Southwest. Also, many woven styles cross over between periods so that not all blankets woven in the so-called Classic Period of 1850 would be considered Classic in style nor are those woven in 1890 all stylistically Transitional. These “generic” styles are designated, instead, by the part of the century in which they were made (early, mid or late 19th century, for instance).

Pre-Classic 1598–1821

  • 1598—Juan de Oñate arrives in SW with sheep
  • Navajo weaving well established by 1704
  • 1821—Mexico gains independence from Spain

Classic 1800–1860

  • 1821—Santa Fe Trail opens
  • 1846–1848—Mexican American War, ending with Mexico ceding the Southwest region to the United States

Late Classic 1860–1878

  • 1862–1868—U.S. military moves Navajos to Bosque Redondo
  • 1868—Navajo Indian Reservation boundaries established
  • 1874—US annuities to SW Indians cease

Transitional 1878–1900

  • 1878—Hubbell Trading Post established
  • 1881—Railroad reaches the Southwest
  • Trade goods replacing handwoven garments

Early Rug 1890–1935

  • Trading posts begin promoting floor rugs in local styles
  • 1930s—Livestock reduction enforced

Early Modern 1923–1965

  • 1923—Navajo Tribal Council and local chapters established; regional rug styles developing
  • 1963—Navajo Tribal Constitution adopted
  • 1965—Hubbell Trading Post transferred to National Park Service

Modern post–1960

  • Native American arts and crafts boom
  • Modernizing and globalizing economy
  • Rising art markets on national and global scale