Rio Grande Blanket

ca. 1900

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Wool with natural and aniline dyes
47 x 87 1/2in (119.4 x 222.3cm)
Credit line
Bequest of Marion Koogler McNay
Accession number
Further information
The complex diamond design in the center - typical of Rio Grande Saltlillo blankets - comes from the highly regarded colorful Saltillo serapes from northern Mexico. These serapes made their way north into New Mexico as trade items. Each Septembe during the colonial period, New Mexican traders traveled to Coahuila, Mexico, for the popular Saltillo trade fair, where they purchased textiles from Asia, Europe, and Mexico.

Introduced by Spanish settlers along the Rio Grande, a horizontal treadle loom was used to produce these textiles. Different from the vertical loom of the Pueblo and Navajo, the horizontal loom allowed for a nearly endless length of yardage, which resulted in fringes from the ends of the warp. Classic Rio Grande banded blankets are woven as doble ancha (double woven). The telltale ridge in the center attests to this technique, which doubles the width of the finished piece.


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