In addition to the scraps of evidence of pre-contact sewing and early embroidery, archaeologists have found evidence for Pueblo embroidery in the paintings on ancient kiva walls. Some of the designs found in these paintings regularly appear on contemporary ceremonial garments.
Brocade or Embroidery?
Other Pre-contact Evidence
Wall painting from a kiva at Awatovi
Click on the area at left to see a close-up of the kilt designs from the wall painting above.
The kilts with decorated borders depicted in the murals share a design vocabulary remarkably similar to that of contemporary Pueblo textile artists.
These shared features include the following:
· Diagonally moving series of hooks
· Triangles balanced on points
· Squares balanced on corners
· Small squares dotting the interiors of larger squares
· Square blocks arranged in ascending and descending terraces
· Overall negative patterning, in which glimpses of the background material create linear designs
Contemporary embroidery also uses designs similar to those found painted on the borders of pottery found during the Peabody excavations.
The main difference between the clothing in the murals and the kilts we see today is the orientation of the decorative border. Most contemporary kilts have designs embroidered vertically along the shorter side borders, “Hopi-style.” The kilts in the murals, by contrast, are decorated along the bottom edges. The few kilts made and worn today that are decorated along the bottom have more in common with manta designs.
School for Advanced Research