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Thaw Catalog Entry: Weaving Batten Acoma Western New Mexico ca. 1880 2 5/8" x 11 1/2" l. Battens, or "weaving swords," are thin strips of wood that are slipped between the warps to hold them apart and make a shed through which the weft yarns are passed. When the weft yarns are in place, the battens are used to pack them down and make the textile tight. These short battens were used with a narrow back loom, a type which is much older than the blanket loom and is still used for weaving sashes, belts, and decorated bands for ties. (c.f. Underhill 1944, pl.III-10; Kent 1983, fig.65) The warp threads are stretched on a frame, or from a tree or post, to a belt around the weaver, who adjusts the tension by his/her position. The belts have distinctive warp-faced designs and are woven most of the pueblos, although the weaving of cloth for dresses and mantas died out at the beginning of this century, except at Hopi. Good battens are highly prized by weavers and rarely decorated with carved designs like these. Dated and published examples are very rare, but the style of carving and considerable amount of wear suggests an early date.
depth 0.625 in ; height 2.625 in ; length 11.5 in