Zapotec Mexican rug – Navajo rug replica, 30″ x 62″, $149

Navajo RugsThis Zapotec rug resembles the classic Crystal or Wide Ruins Navajo rug. Crystal initially emerged as a regional style and center during the Rug Period 1890-1920. The typical contemporary Crystal is banded not bordered, featuring vegetal-dyed yarns in warm golds, browns, greens, and a touch of black. Weavers in the Wide Ruins area make use of banded, unbordered designs reminiscent of Navajo Indian blankets; and colors were derived from all-vegetal dyes. The designs emphasize a range of soft pastel hues, but rather than the customary pale golds, greens and tans; the Wide Ruins weaver uses exquisite pinks, yellows, beiges, lilacs, blues, deep corals, rich grays, olive greens, and multiple shades of tans and browns. Rows of arrows are sometimes evident, a modernized version of the old Navajo Indian blankets serrated diamond pattern.

In recent years, Zapotec weavers, indigenous to central Mexico, began reproducing simplified versions of Navajo textiles; that can be sold at a much lower price than a truly authentic Navajo rug or blanket. Zapotec weavers have their own tradition of rug and blanket manufacture that is even older than the Navajo. Most scholars of pre-Columbian and American Southwest history, believe that many of the geometric design elements one finds in the Navajo textile patterns have their origin in link with the Aztec and Zapotec cultures of central and southern Mexico. The southwestern United States and Mexico are not viewed as two culturally distinct regions; but as a heterogeneous yet unified cultural area, in which deep-rooted regional traditions are linked by common beliefs and art.