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    Description

    Classic Navajo Second Phase Chief's Blanket collected from the Utes in Colorado
    Circa 1865
    Length 60 in. Width 67 in.

    Second phase pattern blankets differ from the simple banded first phase examples by the addition of rectangles that break up the banded layout. This example forms a classic twelve spot pattern. There are two central red and blue bands, each band enclosing three red rectangles, a stepped diamond outline within. This pattern is repeated in single bands at each end. The background is formed by alternating bands in white and brown. The red yarns in this weaving are all single-ply raveled bayeta, cochineal-dyed (Dye testing was provided by David Wenger, Ph.D.). The blue is handspun wool dyed with indigo, together with vegetal-dyed green and yellow handspun. The brown and white are natural, undyed handspun wool.

    Provenance
    Descended through the family of General Francis Henry French. General French collected this blanket while stationed in Colorado. General French wrote about his efforts to acquire a Navajo weaving in a letter dated September 22, 1880 from "In camp near Los Pinos Agency, Colorado." French writes that he is "going up to the Agency, Saturday, to see the rations issued to the Indians which is a regular weekly affair. I want to buy a blanket from the Indians also...I had a queer experience with two of them in trying to buy a blanket. I offered one man $5 for a blanket, but he said $8 after a great deal of talking. I agreed to pay $8, and started to get some change from the store, when he wanted $10. In spite of his offer, nothing less than $10 would satisfy him. Seeing I wouldn't take the blanket, another young buck agreed to sell me one for $10 and I drew out the amount immediately so that he should not have a chance to change, but before I could pay, he wanted $5 more, and I would not take the blanket. The only way is to have plentyof silver pieces in your pocket, and when you want to buy anything just show the amount you will pay." General French was finally successful in acquiring a Navajo weaving and this fine example is a testament to his efforts. The Utes were tough negotiators and obviously reluctant to give up their prized Chief's blankets.
    General French attended West Point, graduating in 1879. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 19th Infantry and assigned frontier duty at Fort Garland, Colorado. His posting was in response to the Meeker massacre of September 30, 1879, as the United States military beefed up its presence throughout Colorado. (Indian Agent Nathan Meeker, together with seven other agency employees and two civilian freighters carrying flour to the agency were all killed that day. An army column on its way to the White River Agency and led by Major Thomas Thornburgh came under attack by the hostile Utes. Major Thornburgh also perished in the fight.) French was promoted to the grade of First Lieutenant in 1888. During the 1890s he served at Fort Clark, Texas.
    After the 1890s and during the next 21 years of military service, General French returned several times to the West in various capacities, including Inspector General of the Southwest Division. General Francis French's long and important military career resulted in his final promotion to Major-General. He served in the Philippine Islands, the Hawaiian Islands and was assigned to the War Department in Washington, D.C. and served in Europe during World War I. This lot is accompanied by General French's military records from the National Archives as well as copies of his letters from Colorado (1879-1880) which offer a firsthand account of his life amongst the Ute and Cheyenne Indians.
    Christie's, Sale 8383, Lot 68, May 17, 2000.



    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    September, 2006
    29th Friday
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