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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

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5/8/2012 10:01:00 AM
World's largest Navajo rug returns home
Hubbell rug on display at La Posada, the first showing in 50 years
The world’s largest Navajo rug is prominently displayed inside the historic train depot at La Posada Hotel. Todd Roth/NHO
The world’s largest Navajo rug is prominently displayed inside the historic train depot at La Posada Hotel. Todd Roth/NHO
A close view of the rug’s design reveals intricate details in its pattern. Todd Roth/NHO
A close view of the rug’s design reveals intricate details in its pattern. Todd Roth/NHO

WINSLOW, Ariz. - May 1, 2012 is an auspicious day for Native Americans and Winslow, Ariz. The Winslow Arts Trust at La Posada Hotel has acquired the rug Lorenzo Hubbell Jr. commissioned in 1932. Today the rug is displayed at La Posada as its initial public showing, the first in 50 years and a very long time since being displayed Winslow. The rug, valued today at $1 million, will be on permanent display at the historic train depot, soon to be converted to Route 66 Gallery at La Posada, beginning spring of 2013.

Hubbell, while in business in Winslow, Ariz., decided to make the "World's Largest Navajo Rug" as a tribute to Native American weavers and as a southwest craft item, attracting people from around the world to northern Arizona. The rug is seamless and 26 by 36 feet in size with patterns not recognized today.

The patterns for the rug were provided by Sam Joe of Ganado at Hubbell's instruction. Joe was to dig up ancient pottery and find designs of very old and non-contemporary symbols. These designs were the basis for the rug. Hubbell also had a special block barn made to house the gigantic loom required to weave the rug. The building was 30 feet by 40 feet by 10 feet high inside. The loom's width needed to be about 27 feet wide to accommodate the rug width. Material for construction of the rug was acquired by Julia Hubbell and her daughters Lilly and Erma. They rounded up 60 white sheep and 18 black sheep to be shorn for rug wool. Julia, Lilly and Erma took two years to process the wool, dying, carding and spinning.

After getting the materials prepared Julia Hubbell began the task of weaving the giant rug, having mind the patterns Lorenzo wanted to be produced on the rug. She was at the loom from early morning until midnight for three years and three months to complete the 26 by 36 foot 250-pound rug. Looking carefully at the rug you will notice that it's very high quality, not crude, with bright colors not faded. There are no seams, just one continuous finely woven Navajo rug 36 feet long. Its size is one reason that not many places can display it and also the reason that no space wants to have it permanently displayed, since it takes up too much room. Luckily, La Posada had a perfect space that can be dedicated to this rug - the entire old railroad station.

Allan Alfet and Tina Mion, La Posada owners, have known the rug's previous owner for many years and have a good relationship with mutual respect on both sides. This is the main reason the world's largest Navajo rug is out of storage in Scottsdale and will be cared for and displayed for the public's enjoyment, here, where it was created.

Related Stories:
• Largest Navajo rug unites family in Winslow

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Article comment by: Juanita A Williams

It's an ART of Weaving something not every Navajo woman or man can do. It's awesome art!

Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Article comment by: Karla McDonald

I believe that weaving credit goes to to Sam and Julia Joe. Their descendants were allowed to see the rug and a documentary was made by David Herzberg and is on YouTube. The 94 year old daughter of Julia saw the rug for the first time since she was 2. Hubbell commissioned it.

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012
Article comment by: Wilkinson Ron

The work was just fabulous, I wish I could also visit with them. Anyways next time. Their hard work pays off

Posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Article comment by: Kris Riley

This is beautiful. Was Julia Hubble a Navajo? I love Navajo rugs and to have the paitence and skill to weave even a small rug is to be commended. Thankfully it is still around for many to enjoy.

Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Article comment by: Dee Ford Potter

I am a weaver and am delighted that this beautiful run will be available for the public to appreciate.

Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Arndt

Beautiful and inspiring- What an honor it must be to descendants of the rug weavers. Whether it's the largest- smallest- or in between- does it matter?- Just celebrate the beauty, skill and history of this historic piece of art..

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2012
Article comment by: Susan Conley

Beautiful! I hope to travel to Winslow and see it!

Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Article comment by: Shauna Spencer

Anyways, It is the first Largest rug hand woven in 1932, Handmade by only two ladies. So please don't make any snotty comments about my Great Great Grandmothers creation.

Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Article comment by: Joann Secody

People just need to be more respectable about the work that was put into the rug to be woven and the year it was woven. Besides the rug that is in Chilchinbeto, it was pieces of rugs woven and sowen together. But this not a competition... its the year it was woven and what the individuals did to get it woven that big. Thank you to the couple to let the family to see it again. And thank you to Navajo/Hopi Observer for posting.

Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Article comment by: Roberta John

Hello....I believe the World's Largest Navajo Rug is actually located at Chilchinbito Chapter between Many Farms and Kayenta chapters...Moreover, I believe the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock has the second largest Navajo rug in the World, which is larger than the one that is at the LaPosada Hotel in can contact Manuelito Wheeler, director at the NN Museum at (928) 871-7941 to verify the size of both of these rugs.

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