About Navajo weavings:

All Navajo textiles are handwoven on upright looms. Prior to 1860, Navajo women wove fine wearing blankets for their families and for trade with other Native American tribes. With the advent of the railroad in 1880 and the arrival of traders and tourists in the Southwest, Navajo women began weaving blankets and rugs for an Anglo clientele. Most of these textiles featured geometric patterns. Weavings depicting aspects of the Navajo spiritual and ceremonial life, such as the Yeibichai dance, are much rarer.

About Rebecca and Jean-Paul Valette

Rebecca Valette grew up in Boulder, Colorado, in a home decorated with traditional Navajo rugs. Her husband Jean-Paul discovered the beauty of these weavings while the two were studying for their PhDs at the University of Colorado. Over the past forty years, they have assembled the finest collection of Navajo weavings with ceremonial themes. They have published their research findings in books and articles and have also curated several museum exhibits of their weavings.

About Shelly C. Lowe

Shelly C. Lowe is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. She grew up in Ganado, Arizona, in the heart of the Navajo Reservation. She has worked at the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado and at Bahti Indian Arts in Tucson, Arizona. Before coming to Harvard University, she was Assistant Dean for Native American Affairs at Yale University. She is currently a member of the National Council on the Humanities and is a former trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian.

About Navajo Weavings with Ceremonial Themes

Featuring more than 500 photos and maps, this new book by the Valettes is the first comprehensive history of Navajo weavings with imagery inspired by tribal sacred practices. These textiles never served a ceremonial function. They were created by Navajo women at the instigation of Anglo traders, for sale to wealthy collectors willing to pay premium prices for their perceived spiritual symbolism. This book describes the historical and artistic development of the genre from its controversial emergence through a contemporary search for innovative patterns.

About Weaving the Dance

This Valette book, published in conjunction with an exhibit several years ago at the Museum of our National Heritage in Lexington, describes the early development of a special category of Navajo textiles known as Yeibichai weavings. These weavings are artistic interpretations of the Yeibichai dance, a sacred rite that provides a spectacular conclusion to the nine-day Navajo ceremony known as the Nightway.


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Upcoming Events


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From Feb 2, 2018 To Feb 28, 2018

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New Date! - Book Talk and Signing with author Jamie Cat Callan

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 6:30 PM To 8:45 PM

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018 2:00 PM To 3:30 PM

Join Benjamin for an in-depth discussion of Poèmes à Lou by Guillaume Apollinaire.

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