Known as the badlands in Navajo, only recently have Bistie rugs been grouped with other regional Navajo rug styles. Once confused to be a distant relative of the Teec Nos Pos, the Bistie is actually one of the rarest rug styles, not only within the Navajo culture, but the world.
History of Bistie Rugs
Once limited to just five families within the Navajo Nation, these modern day antiquities originated from the long-since-closed Old Bistie Trading Post. Inspired by Oriental designs and colorization, there are very few Bistie weavers still creating these gorgeous weavings, the peak of the period dating back to the 1940s. The Nizhoni Ranch Gallery is one of the few places you can still find these amazing pieces of art.
View a Navajo reservation map of the origin of each of the regional rug styles - a new window will open
Distinct Design Elements
Identified by two main features—the complex, yet connected curvilinear geometric designs—the Bistie can be difficult to separate from the Teec Nos Pos. A major giveaway between the two rugs is that the Bistie often sports prayer feathers, pictorial motifs, or up to nine borders surrounding a central element. Thin checkered borders often accompany these intricate designs, as well.
Racing Against Time
What makes Bistie so beautiful and sought after is the fact that so few weavers still implement this style in their craftwork. What’s more, this distinct style could very well be lost forever as time passes simply because there are so few people able to take on this lost weaving art style and produce it on a scale that makes it accessible to the general public. Because it is very difficult to achieve curvilinear design work, the level of weaving expertise necessary to execute this style requires only the most skilled of Navajo weaving artists. Circles are the most difficult design elements to master in Navajo weaving.
One Last Chance
The Navajo have produced some of the most amazing weavings ever created anywhere on the planet, and the Bistie is no exception. And while they’re still weaving unforgettable pieces each and every day, this is one rug that can vanish before you ever get to experience it for yourself. If you would like to claim one of these extremely rare artworks, please check out the Nizhoni Ranch Gallery before it’s too late to ever get one again.