NRG: About Navajo Rug Patterns & Styles

Navajo Rug Patterns

Master Weaver Cara Gorman displays her 4-in-1 Award Winning Germantown  "On the Loom" Weaving.




Starting in the 1920s and continuing through today, different Navajo rug designs were identified by and named for the region from which the design originated. Not every Navajo rug design is named for its region, but many are. For example, Sandpainting, Two-Faced, and Twill are a few examples of designs you'll find which are not identified with a region of the Reservation. Chinle, Ganado, and Teec Nos Pos are a few examples of Navajo rug designs which are named after a Navajo region. 

The rugs, blankets, and wall hangings available here are all hand-woven on traditional, upright looms. Most of our Navajo Rugs are made from 100 percent wool, and some are even made from desirable Navajo-Churro wool. Steve Getzwiller has given a few of the Navajo Weavers silk and Alpaca to weave with as well.

What, then, distinguishes a rug that costs 150 dollars from a rug that costs 15,000 dollars? Generally speaking, the size of the rug, fineness of weave, and the intricacy of its pattern affect the final cost. (Additional factors which affect cost include the Navajo rug's age, wool, and dye type.)

To understand how such tremendous variety could issue from just a single Native American Reservation, you must first understand the unique nature of the Navajo Indian Reservation. The Navajo Reservation is the largest in the United States. It encompasses a land mass of 27,000 square miles, with land in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. According to the 2000 census, about 174,000 of the nearly 300,000 Navajos lived within the Navajo Nation. You'll find wonderful examples of indigenous designs from Two Grey Hills, Teec Nos Pos, Ganado, Crystal, Wide Ruins, Chinle, Western Reservations, and Burntwater. 

To appreciate the diversity, click HERE to see a map of the reservation with each of the unique style/design origins marked. 

Master Weaver pauses for a moment with her weaving.

Master Weaver Grace Nez (1937 - 2013) with one of her magnificent Teec Nos Pos pieces. 

Some rugs are so large and intricate that a single rug takes more than a year to weave! Even an "average" rug takes two to three months to weave. Intricate Navajo rug patterns are breathtakingly beautiful. The complexities of such patterns reveal themselves to the viewer over time. Like a favorite painting, an ornate Navajo rug reveals different details and different shades of color with repeat viewings.

Handmade rugs in traditional Navajo rug patterns make truly wonderful heirlooms. Not only is their durability legendary, but their designs and colors are timeless. Native American rugs and other textiles have been central to many design movements over the ages, including the much loved American Arts and Crafts movement. Your Navajo rug will look as elegant and pleasing in 100 years as it does today, or as it had 100 years ago.

You'll find lots of helpful information about each of the unique handmade rug designs, including the artist's name, the rug's dimensions, and the name of the design on each weaving we have on our site.  

If you'd like to look at available weavings by their unique design/style click here

To shop ALL weavings, click here