Navajo pictoral rug created by artist Leroy Yazzie.
A pictorial rug usually portrays a scene from Navajo culture, and this steam train is evocative of the railroad's arrival in Navajo country in the early 1880's.
This piece carefully woven over many, many hours features a detailed train surrounded by solid bands of black, orange, and white parallel stripes.
- Rug handmade by Leroy Yazzie (Navajo)
- Genuine Two Grey Hills Navajo rug
- Natural undyed, hand-carded and homespun sheep wool
- Rug measures 37”W x 25”L
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
From Fort Defiance, Arizona, Leroy Yazzie is a traditional Navajo weaver known for his one-of-a-kind pictorial rugs. He was born in 1972, and has been weaving Navajo rugs since he was a teenager.
Navajo weavers have been creating pictorial rug styles since the 19th century, but they grew in popularity after World War II. Early pictorial designs usually featured feathers, arrows, animals, and other familiar Navajo icons within a geometric design.
In the second half of the 20th century, artists began to fill their rugs with a single pictorial scene, such as vibrant landscapes, Yei figures inspired by sand paintings, or the popular tree of life pattern. The tree of life pattern features a cornstalk emerging from a Navajo wedding basket, with birds perched on the leaves of the cornstalk. The design celebrates the natural world and reminds us of the importance of living in harmony with nature.
Today, pictorial rugs are one of the most widely collected styles of Navajo weaving, admired for their inspiring scenes and technical sophistication. The pictorial style allows artists to showcase their creativity and imagination, creating unique rugs that have brought a fresh perspective to the world of contemporary weaving.
For nearly two centuries, Navajo rugs have been highly sought-after trade items, prized for their beauty and quality. Anthropologists believe the Navajo people were introduced to weaving in the 17th century by the Pueblo people, who had been growing and weaving cotton for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spanish. Navajo weavers primarily used wool from the churro sheep brought by the Spanish. The Navajo believe that Spider Boy gave them their first loom and that Spider Woman taught them how to weave. Early Navajo blankets were simple in design and used very little color. By the middle of the 19th century, Navajo “Chief’s Blankets” had become a highly valued trade good, known for their softness and quality, and were traded as far away as the Great Plains. Styles were influenced by Spanish and Mexican weaving and artists began to add some geometric patterns such as rectangles and diamond shapes.
Navajo weaving declined in the late 19th century as more manufactured clothing and goods arrived with the railroads and demand decreased. Around the turn of the century, traders like J.L. Hubbell, C.N. Cotton, and John B. Moore encouraged the revival of Navajo weaving, believing rugs could be marketed to audiences in the Eastern United States. As the only significant customers of Navajo rugs at this time, these traders had a significant impact on the direction of Navajo weaving. They introduced their own design concepts and, as a result, particular weaving styles developed around trading posts, such as Two Grey Hills and Ganado. Navajo weavers also turned to vegetal dyes at this time and in a few decades became known for the unsurpassed quality of their rugs and tapestries. Today Navajo rugs are prized for their artistry and craftsmanship and considered among the most valuable in the world.Read our Native American Rugs Collector's Guide.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes, and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase, and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft.
Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer. At a time when many commercially made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 40 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.