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Bid on High-End Navajo Rugs, Oct. 5, at the Eiteljorg

by Robert Tate, Eiteljorg director of merchandising | Sep 24, 2013

On Saturday, Oct. 5, Eiteljorg members and visitors can raise their hands to bid on more than 200 Navajo rugs during the museum's annual auction. This year, Trader and auctioneer Bruce Burnham has honored our invitation to share his love and knowledge about contemporary and vintage Navajo rugs.
 
Burnham’s family has been in the trading business for five generations, which makes him uniquely qualified to answer questions about collecting and displaying Navajo rugs and weavings. 

The Burnham’s Trading Post is some 40 miles west of Gallup, New Mexico in Northeastern Arizona. Each year, they sell more than $1 million in rugs at 18 auctions. Proceeds from each sale go directly to the Navajo artists who created the rugs or weavings.  The artists gather at the trading post when he returns from auctions to collect their earnings. 

Burnham, himself, lives on the Navajo reservation where his family has been trading rugs for more than 30 years. When asked recently whether he thought rug weaving was a dying art, he told the Arizona Daily Courier, “It’s not a dying art. There has never been a time you couldn’t open the back of a store and haul out more rugs than you can sell.”

The Eiteljorg is privileged to have such a special relationship with the Burnham family.  According to their website, the Burnhams are credited with helping to develop several distinct rug styles including the New Lands Raised Outline, Burntwater, Germantown Revival and Spider Rock. Bruce Burnham is known nationwide for his expertise in buying and selling and his company’s innovation and quality in Navajo textiles. You can get a sense of what the Burnhams will bring to Indianapolis for auction if you visit their website at www.rbburnhamtrading.com

We believe this auction is the perfect opportunity for visitors to add to their collection or for new collectors to purchase a first rug or weaving. Those who attend the preview also have the benefit of holding rugs in their hands and examining them up close. The "Members-only" preview is also a great cultural experience which gives visitors an opportunity to learn about Navajo art.  

Rugs sold at the event will range from $100 to $10,000. The average rug will sell for $350.

If you’d like to see and feel one of the rugs that will be on display, make a trip to the Eiteljorg Museum Store where we have a 4X6 contemporary rug from R.B. Burnham & Co. on display.

Schedule:
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Navajo Trader and auctioneer Bruce Burnham leads “Members only” chat 
*Eiteljorg members only

9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
General public arrives for auction preview

11:30 a.m. – Navajo rug auction begins

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