M U S E U M  O F  I N D I A N  A R T S  &  C U L T U R EM U S E U M  O F  N E W  M E X I C O
Keystone of the Arch: The Stewart Collection


The Stewart Collection includes 85 weavings of Navajo (Diné), Pueblo, Hispanic, and Mexican origin. Navajo weavers created for their own needs or traded to outsiders many of the pieces in the exhibition. Indians of the Plains, of the Pueblos and Spaniards traded for and coveted these finely woven textiles during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Navajo weavers constructed fabrics with cotton fiber during the seventeenth century at the same time Spanish settlers brought sheep, commercial fabrics and dyes to New Mexico. Navajo fiber artists readily incorporated these new commodities into their weaving repertoire. Later, Euro-American traders moved to the newly defined Navajo Nation, providing weavers with new weaving materials and markets. By the turn of the nineteenth century, weavers began producing floor rugs rather than clothing and blankets for outsiders. Today, fiber artists produce weavings that can be found in homes throughout the world.