DescriptionClassic Navajo Moki Style Man's Serape from the Fred Harvey Collection
Length 73 1/2 in. Width 53 in.
This striking wearing blanket features a unique pattern composed of full and halved serrated diamonds, each enclosing a colorful checkerboard design, and overlaying the fine Moki striped ground. The design is accented by two narrow strips of elongated parallelograms across the center and narrow white end bands. "While almost all classic and late classic Moki serapes are divided into horizontal zones, this Moki conforms to the classic format at work in Navajo bayeta serapes and poncho serapes: there is an overall design built around a central diamond, and each design element connects and extends the elements adjacent to it. The presence of checkered design motifs within the serrated diamonds is unique to this example, and echoes the plaid designs at work in historic Hopi bachelor blankets and prehistoric Anasazi ceramic ware."1
The yarns in this weaving are as follows: The dark reds are raveled bayeta, dyed with a combination of both lac and cochineal, measuring 5% lac and 95% cochineal (Dye analysis was provided by David Wenger, Ph.D.); the pinks are the same raveled bayeta recarded and respun with white to make pink; the blues are handspun dyed with indigo; the whites and browns are undyed handspun; and the green is handspun dyed with combinations of indigo and vegetal dyes.
"Moki, or Moqui, is a term the Spanish used to identify Hopi Indians, and both the Hopi and the Zuni also wove this style of blanket."2 Moki style blankets are well illustrated in the literature. Thirty examples are illustrated by Nancy Blomberg in Navajo Textiles: The William Randolph Hearst Collection. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988, pp. 147-180 (pp. 147-180). The author states: "First proposed by Mera in 1948, the term banded background is obviously descriptive of the somber blue and brown/black narrow striped ground common to each of these textiles. Despite the sameness of the ground, however, each piece can be unique, with significant variation appearing in the grouping of the stripes and the colorful designs superimposed upon them."3
Also, see: Whitaker, Kathleen. Southwest Textiles: Weavings of the Navajo and Pueblo. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002, pp. 134-151 for twelve examples; and Wheat, Joe Ben and Hedlund, Ann Lane (Ed.). Blanket Weaving in the Southwest. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2003, pp. 302-308 for seven examples.
This serape was purchased by the Fred Harvey Company of Albuquerque, New Mexico, on November 22, 1902, from the Withs Collection and was assigned the inventory code "H9085 89324 DAXSS" and the description "Old Native Wool some bayeta Moki Pattern with squares Blue Red Green White". (See: Harvey Company ledgers housed at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, and the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe.)
This serape is listed in a J.F. Huckel Collection inventory from 1933 as item number 3 of thirty pieces and described: "Very rare Hopi blanket. Ground of black and blue stripes with red Bayetta figures throughout; diamond design through center; half diamonds on the sides. Diamonds filled with checker designs in green, blue, pink and red." It was assigned the "highest" monetary value in Huckel's collection at that time of $1,500.00. The serape was consigned to the Harvey Company by Huckel's heirs for resale sometime between September, 1937, and July, 1939. It was assigned the new inventory code of 1209 B530615 and the description, "Huckel Coll #3 Old Hopi". (Again, reference the Harvey Company ledgers.)
The blanket was sold by the Harvey Company on April 7, 1940, to a family in Santa Barbara, California.
Sotheby's, Sale 7137, Lot 337, May 19, 1998.
1Joshua Baer, private correspondence, February 16, 1998.
2Whitaker, Kathleen. Southwest Textiles Weavings of the Navajo and Pueblo. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002, p. 134.
3Blomberg, Nancy. Navajo Textiles: The William Randolph Hearst Collection. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988, pp. 147-180.
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