Master Weaver Blind Man's Wife
by Master Weaver Blind Man's Wife
This rug measures 59" x 98", hand-spun, natural wool, c. 1920, excellent condition.
This rug and this weaver are regional, Navajo rug history.
This rug is a variation on J.B. Moore Plate XXVII. "The Master Weavers" by Mark Winter details the "rough drafts" she wove before finding the Masterpiece. They appear in Plates 61 and 62, pages 217 and 218. They were woven in that order such that Plate 61 is more recognizably derivative of the Moore model and Plate 62 shows more artistic refinement.
We have seen at least 5 versions of this rug and this is the only one with double borders. She exhibits exceptional attention to detail. For example she puts dark highlights on the tips of the waterbugs and the trident variants and various other places. It was not necessary to the saleability of the rug to take the time to add these details. She did it to satisfy her own artistic integrity. This design became quite popular with other weavers and widely known.
A version of this design appears in the "The Master Weavers" in Plate 63, page 220. It was the FIRST Navajo rug attributed to the weaver/artist. The traders had taken credit for them previously.
The design evolution displayed in Plates 61, 62 and 63 are clear evidence that Blind Man's Wife was one of the earliest design geniuses who developed the orientalized, regional Navajo rug into an art form that pleased the white buyer while remaining true to it's Navajo roots.