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Style: Germantown Navajo Rugs

Antique Germantown American Indian Blanket PC 119

Saddle Blanket - Single Sunday Navajo Weaving : Historic : PC 119

Nearly 150 years ago, traders provided the Navajo with brightly-colored, factory-made yarns for their weaving. These generic, yet colorful yarns eventually became known as Germantown rugs because of where the yarns originated from. Even though, by the early 1900s the yarn trading slowed significantly, the name and the beautiful stylizations did not, as is evidenced by the now popular Transitional Eye-Dazzler rugs that were spawned from this era and continued forward to contemporary weaving.


View a Navajo reservation map of the origin of each of the regional rug styles - a new window will open


History of Germantown Rugs
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, may not be a city you imagine influencing a Navajo Indian rug styling, but they were, in fact, notable for the spawning of the term “Germantown” rugs in the late 1800s. These intricately styled and often colorful rugs were so aptly named because the yarn that they came from was produced in the now suburb of Philadelphia called—you guessed it—Germantown.


Right at the Fringe
One of the most unique and compelling aspects of Germantown rugs is that the fringe is added only after the rug has been woven. This means that even if the fringe has been worn down or worn away, the structure of the textile can still be tight and perfectly solid. Only the Gallup Throw maintains a similar (but also original) fringe end design.


Persistence Matters
Though Germantown yarns were discouraged by traders long ago, you can still find a wide range of transitional period blankets and rugs with exquisite fine weave even today. Known for their 3 and 4-ply manufactured yarns and colorful synthetic dyes, Germantown rugs after many years have held up extremely well, even after all these years. And while the original styles are rarely made, you can still find them here at the Nizhoni Ranch Gallery, vintage and contemporary Churro wool as well.


Gone but Not Forgotten
While the traditional Germantown rugs may have gone the way of the dodo, finding these authentic, gorgeous pieces is still possible. Here at the Nizhoni Ranch Gallery, we still provide both original works and the next generation of the Germantown in Eye-Dazzlers. Please keep a close eye on our selection so you don’t miss out on these truly one-of-a-kind historic pieces.

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