Every Navajo rug is a unique piece that starts with raising the sheep and goats, which are then shorn and the wool carded, spun, dyed, and finally woven, all by hand, into a rug using traditional, contemporary, and historic themes. Rugs are not just pieces of home décor but rather works of textile art highly prized by collectors that can fetch huge sums when sold.

The University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology will once again hold its annual Navajo rug auction fund-raiser. The rug auction is the result of a long-standing collaboration between the Maxwell Museum and R.B. Burnham & Company of Arizona. The Burnhams have been trading with Diné (Navajo) and Pueblo artists for five generations.

The Rug Auction is the Maxwell's largest fund-raiser of the year and provides critical support for public programs and other museum efforts.

The museum's silent auction starts Friday, Nov. 17, at the Maxwell and will continue and conclude at Prairie Star Restaurant with the context of the rug auction Saturday, Nov. 18. Check out the 2023 Silent Auction Catalog.

The Saturday event begins with a viewing from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The auction will start at 1 p.m. Whether you are a collector or just interested in learning about Navajo weaving and acquiring your first weaving or other Native artwork, the auction offers a great opportunity to view a variety of styles. It is fast moving, fun, and exciting. Browse, bid, and take home a unique handmade textile. Weavers received 80 percent of the final bid price, while the Maxwell Museum receives the 10 percent buyer's premium. The auction is on Santa Ana land. Purchases are therefore not subject to sales tax. Go here to find out more.