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Object Monday: Pictorial Weaving by Atsuma Blackhorse

Pictorial Weaving by Atsuma Blackhorse


This pictorial rug by Atsuma Blackhorse has a gray background with the central motif of a stylized Mimbres rabbit and a stylized Hopi (Sikyatki-style) bird, likely an eagle. There is a maroon border with grey and black geometric double hooks and nested orange triangles. Edwin Kennedy donated this unusual textile to the Museum in 1969.

Although there are a few examples of pictorial images in Navajo weaving as early as the 1840s, pictorial rugs only became prominent beginning in the 1890s. The image of this pictorial rug is inspired by a series of “Rabbit and Eagle” paintings by Pablita Velarde (1918-2006), a renowned Santa Clara Pueblo artist whose work the Maxwell Museum also holds. Through an unusual collaboration, the weaver, Atsuma Blackhorse (1900-1994), specialized in weaving pictorials based on Velarde paintings, and made several with this bird and rabbit motif. One is also in the Crane Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Catalog #: 69.67.18
Culture: Diné (Navajo)
Origin: SW United States
Artist: Atsuma Blackhorse
Date: 1960s
Collection: Ethnology

Post By: Lauren Fuka