The first Indian rugs are believed to date back to the Pueblo people. The tribes created large looms for weaving and discovered the benefits of using cotton in their blankets and rugs. They often hand-dyed the cotton fibers using dyes made from plants and fruits. They created a wide range of rugs and blankets on these looms.
Beginning in the 16th century, Spanish explorers arrived in parts of America and began trading with the Navajo. Among the things they brought and traded were sheep. The Navajo learned how to shear the sheep and turn their hair into wool for yarn. Originally these rugs were quite plain in terms of color and primarily depended on the color of the wool, which made brown and white popular color choices. Eventually they learned how to dye the wool yarn and create brighter rugs.
For more information or to purchase one of these rugs:
- Indian Territory: retailer with a large catalogue of Native American rugs and blankets.
- Native American Rugs: offers a brief history of rugs created by different Native American tribes.
- Navajo Rugs: specializes in authentic Native American rugs created by Navajo people, with information on each one for sale.
- Navajo Rugs & Blankets: retailer specializing in Navajo blankets and rugs in different colors and styles as well as sizes.
- Bair's Indian Trading Company: retailer offering different types of Native American products, including rugs.
During the 1800s Indian rugs took on a different appearance. Tribes began creating striped rugs that used red and blue, along with the basic colors of brown and white. They also incorporated different shapes into the design such as zigzags or lighting bolts and diamonds. This was also when synthetic dyes were introduced, which allowed for even brighter colors.
The 20th century brought about some significant changes because this was when the production line was invented. This allowed for the mass production of different items, including traditional rugs. While some weavers still make rugs the old-fashioned way, there are many mass produced rugs available on the market. These rugs look very similar, but are less expensive and more modern looking. Indian rugs have changed a lot throughout history, but they still look fantastic.