Blankets and rugs made by the Navajo, considered among the best-made textiles produced by Native Americans of the U.S. By 1500 the Navajo were well established in what is now the southwestern U.S., where they began to practice weaving when they turned from a seminomadic life to agriculture. From the Hopi they learned how to make looms and weave fabrics on a large scale; but whereas the Hopi limited their designs to striped patterns, the Navajo introduced geometric shapes, diamonds, lozenges, and zigzags. Traditionally Navajo blankets were made of natural-coloured wool or wool in dark colours produced by dyes made from roots, herbs, and minerals. After the introduction of aniline dyes in the late 19th century, Navajo weavers began using brighter wools and a broader range of decorative motifs.
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