Art Exhibit Navajo Weavings

January 16, 2007

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The Wabash College Art Department is pleased to announce the showing of Navajo Weavings from the Korb Collection this month in the Eric Dean Gallery. The show will open on Monday, January 22, with a reception from 8-9:30 pm.

Donald B. Korb, Wabash class of 1945, and his wife Jean began collecting Germantown Navajo saddle blankets and samplers after a visit in 1990 to Arizona. Their collection includes textiles from the late 1800’s to the 1940’s, each with bright colors and images that reflect traditional Navajo art. The Korbs, who will be present for the opening reception, currently reside in Evansville; the collection makes its home at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

The Navajo tradition of saddle blanket weavings probably began in the mid 1730’s, at a time when Spaniards introduced both horses and sheep (wool) to the Southwest. Between 1863 and 1865 the entire Navajo tribe was imprisoned by American troops, leaving the tribe without access to their sheep. In response, the federal government provided the Navajo people yarn from Germantown, Pennsylvania, dyed with colorful analine dyes. These yarns are the source of the colorful weavings in this collection.

The Navajo blankets, rugs and samplers reflect the influence of Mexican design, white man’s images and symbols, and other imported patterns and designs. In one, the artist has woven the American flag, bordered by what looks like oriental rug patterns. The rich colors and patterns, and the expert craftsmanship of these weavings illustrate a wonderful tradition continued today in the Navajo Nation in our country’s southwest.

The show will be exhibited in the Eric Dean Gallery through February 16. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, noon to 5 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. The gallery is located in the Randolph Deer Art wing in the south end of the Fine Arts Center.


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