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January 2018 Vol. 55 No. 5

University Press of Colorado

The following review appeared in the January 2018 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Art & Architecture

Navajo textiles: the Crane Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, by Laurie D. Webster et al.; introd. by Ann Lane Hedlund. Denver Museum of Nature & Science/University Press of Colorado, 2017. 230p index ISBN 9781607326724, $34.95; ISBN 9781607326731 ebook, $27.95.

This volume celebrates the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's Crane Collection, donated to the museum in 1968, which is one of the largest collections of Navajo textiles in the world. Webster (anthropology, Univ. of Arizona) et al. present Navajo weaving and weavers through documents, individual objects, and personal narrative. The book explores the history of the Navajo rug trade, including long-term changes in the Navajo textile market and contemporary issues. The work of Navajo and Anglo scholars, the volume combines anthropology, history, and expert Navajo weavers’ narratives, particularly as related to individual rugs. The first half of the book comprises five chapters: the first three provide a history of the collection, the Navajo textile trade, and exhibitions; the last two provide personal narratives from two expert Navajo weavers from long-established weaving families. The remaining 100 pages offer plates and commentary. The 57 plates of Navajo weaving are extraordinary, as are the dual narratives by both Anglo and Navajo scholars. This approach enriches understanding of the textiles and clarifies the critical nature of a multidisciplinary approach to scholarship. This book is an important resource for interdisciplinary work in anthropology and art history, and artists will find the book’s visual and written narrative inspirational.

--L. L. Kriner, Berea College

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.