This blanket was purchased from a Navajo woman by Captain Harrison Samuel Weeks in 1876 while he was stationed at Fort Union, New Mexico. It was meant to be worn around the shoulders with the large central panel falling vertically down the back. During the nineteenth century, the introduction of new commercial dyes and yarns and the growth of a tourist market spurred by the opening of trading posts sparked creative experimentation with color and complex designs.
Artist Navajo, Native American
Title
  • Wearing Blanket
Date ca. 1870
Medium wool, commercial and homespun yarns
Dimensions Overall: 76 × 52 1/2 inches (193 × 133.4 cm)
Credit Line Gift of the Descendents of Helen Weeks Winchester and Captain Harrison Samuel Weeks
Accession Number 1987.93
Department Africa, Oceania & Indigenous Americas
On View Native American S130, Level 1 (see map)
Marks Inscribed, dated in ink, upper corner: Cpt. HS Weeks | USA 1876
Body of the design, on white: WEEKS
1876, collected by Harrison Samuel Weeks, Captain, U.S. Army while stationed at (Fort Union, New Mexico, USA);
his widow, Julia Shoemaker Weeks;
inherited by their daughter, Helen Weeks Winchester [died 1943] (Allegan, Michigan, USA);
c. 1943, in the possession of her brother, Dr. Edward G. Weeks (Saginaw and Hubbard Lake, Michigan, USA);
inherited by his daughter, June Weeks Hughes (died 1987);
1987, inherited by the families of Helen Weeks Winchester and June Weeks Hughes, although in the possession of Henry T. Winchester, Jr. (Allegan, Michigan, USA, and Naples, Florida, USA);
1987-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Miro, Marsha. "DIA blanket hailed as gem of Navajo art." Detroit Free Press, January 28, 1988, sec A, p. 3 (ill).

Parker, Rosemary. "Family's gift was more generous than they thought." Kalamazoo Gazette, February 14, 1988, (ill.).

Bulletin of the DIA 64, nos. 2/3 (1988): 8, fig. 5, (ill.).

Penney, David W. and George C. Longfish. Native American Art. Southport, CT, 1994, p. 159.

Penney, David W. Native American Art Masterpieces. Southport, CT, 1996, pp. 64-65.