Art: The Spider Women

The Navajo blanket—mostly in the form of machine-made imitations—has long been a popular product for the tourist trade. Brightly colored, durable, it will serve to cover a grand piano or enliven a teen-ager's den. Only in recent years has it become apparent that the Navajos are a tribe of unusual vitality, and that the blankets they made during the 19th century express a remarkable artistic spirit.

To illustrate that spirit, Los Angeles Sculptor Anthony Berlant and Mary Hunt Kahlenberg, curator of textiles and costumes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, have brought together 81 strikingly beautiful Navajo blankets from public...