Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Spider Woman´s (Na ashje´ii ´Asdzáá) Gift

April 09, 2008


Santa Fe, NM—A striking array of Diné (Navajo) textiles and baskets will soon be on display at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Spider Woman’s (Na ashje’ii 'Asdzáá) Gift: Navajo Weaving Traditions, a long-term exhibition, features weavings from the 1850s through the 1890s—the Classic and Transitional periods. A weaving demonstration, gallery talk, and hands-on activities are planned for the opening, which takes place Sunday, May 14 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

On the Diné reservation situated between the red rock canyon walls in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, stands an 800-foot sandstone rock formation named Spider Rock. According to Diné oral history, this is where Spider Woman makes her home. For centuries, her gift of weaving has provided a constant means of sustenance for the Diné in the Southwest.

Spider Woman taught the Diné weaving designs that refer to natural “life-way” elements and cosmology. These designs, evident in early basketry, are imbued with special meaning and have been passed down throughout many generations of Diné weavers.

Culled from the museum’s collections, Spider Woman’s Gift features Diné baskets and textiles that share particular design elements and patterns, including Spider Woman crosses, other stylized cross designs, empty-centered squares, and stepped terraces. Traditional Classic textiles on view include women’s dresses and blankets, child’s blankets, sarapes, and First-, Second-, and Third-Phase Chief blankets.


Schedule of opening events Sunday, May 14th at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture:

*Free to New Mexico residents. Others by museum admission.

1:00–4:00 p.m.

Navajo weaving demonstration by Loretta Succo of Crownpoint, New Mexico in the museum lobby

1:30 p.m.

“Diné Weaving: Fine Art in its Cultural Context” in the Kathryn O’Keeffe Theater

2:00 p.m.

Gallery talk with Joyce Begay-Foss (Diné), Director of Education, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, in the Masterpieces, Allred/Crane, Comstock Galleries

2:00–4:00 p.m.

Children’s hands-on weaving activities in the Frank L. Arensberg classroom

2:00–4:00 p.m.

Reception sponsored by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation Women’s Board in the museum lobby



For images, please contact Steve Cantrell at

or 505-476-1144.




Related Photos

Chief Blanket
Woman’s Wearing Blanket
Spider Design

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