Native American

Night Train

Artist: Lemuel Harrison
Culture/People: Diné
Place: Southwest, United States
Media: Wool and yarn
Dims: 105 x 5 in. (266.7 x 12.7 cm).
Date: n.d.
RTC No: NA1271
Gift of Ralph T. Coe, 2011


This unique pictorial belt measures 105 inches in length and depicts colored train cars along a mountainous landscape under a cold night sky. Ted purchased this sash belt titled “Night Train,” along with another woven belt that also shows a train scene from the same artist. The bright colored yarn interwoven with the natural wool creates a glowing effect on the trains. The maker also wove their initials into the belt, incorporating a personal touch.

Lemuel Harrison is Diné from Lybrook, NM, and currently resides and works in Ignacio, CO. The woven pictorial belts were developed by Lemuel in the mid-90s while working at the Strater Hotel in Durango, CO. “Night Train” was inspired on a snowy day in Durango while Lemuel was on break from work. “I sat outside while the train went by as it did every day,” Lemuel stated during our recent correspondence. During the mid-90s, Lemuel wove about eighty pictorial belts. It takes Lemuel three weeks to complete a pictorial belt, which includes prepping the wool and yarn.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020 and slowly but surely interfered with our daily work and personal lives, it ironically allowed for some people to be more creative and try something new or maybe complete projects that have been on the back burner. For Lemuel, this time has meant weaving more—from sash belts to Navajo rugs, Lemuel has been producing stunning weavings during an uncertain and challenging time.

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