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Object Monday: Tree of Life Weaving by Margaret Bochinclozy

Tree of Life Weaving by Margaret Bochinclozy

Tree of Life Weaving by Margaret Bochinclozy (MMA 63.34.172)


This pictorial weaving was made by Diné weaver Margaret Bochinclozy in 1962. The rug depicts a tree of life motif, surrounded by a border of animals, a rainbow, and stars. A light green corn stalk-like tree climbs up the center of the textile on a white rectangular central field. A resting bird (and one butterfly) rest on each leaf as dark rain clouds loom overhead.  The weaver’s skill and care are further evident in her detailed depictions of animals. The border field is gold and includes a frog, squirrel, horse, elephant, chicken, goat, camel, bear, cat, cow, rabbit, porcupine, and multiple birds, insects, and dogs.

Woven with handspun wool of natural and aniline dyed colors, the rug is comprised of seven warps and thirty wefts per inch, and overall measures 4’2” x 5’6”.

The pictorial style depicts objects and people rather than geometric patterns to tell a story about to Navajo culture, beliefs, history, or influences of change. Although pictorials comprise only a small percentage of all Navajo textiles, their existence and development play a significant role in retelling Diné history. The stories told in fiber illustrate the weaver’s power to visually document her reactions to a changing world. This pictorial weaving of the Tree of Life responds to the ancient Middle Eastern and European motif by replacing the tree with a corn stalk.  

Culture: Diné (Navajo)
Artist: Margaret Bochinclozy
Origin: Lukachukai, Arizona
Date: 1962
Collection: Ethnology, Dorothy and Gilbert Maxwell Collection
Catalog #: 63.34.172
By: Petra Brown