blanket, sheet, usually of heavy woolen, or partly woolen, cloth, for use as a shawl, bed covering, or horse covering. The blanketmaking of primitive people is one of the finest remaining examples of early domestic artwork. The blankets of Mysore, India, were famous for their fine, soft texture. The loom of the Native American, though simple in construction, can produce blankets so closely woven as to be waterproof. The Navaho, Zuñi, Hopi, and other Southwestern Native Americans are noted for their distinctive, firmly woven blankets. The Navahos produced beautifully designed blankets characterized by geometrical designs woven with yarns colored with vegetable dyes. During the mid-19th cent. the Navahos began to use yarns imported from Europe, because of their brighter colors. The ceremonial Chilcat blanket of the Tlingit of the Northwest, generally woven with a warp of cedar bark and wool and a weft of goats' hair, was curved and fringed at the lower end. In the 20th cent., the electric blanket, with electric wiring between layers of fabric, gained wide popularity.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.