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Object Record

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Catalog Number 2011.02.10
Object Name Cradle, Basket
Collection Dorothy Hill Cradleboard Collection
Description (Heather Martin 5/23/2016) This is a miniature baby carrier made with a wood frame and sun shade. Following Farmer's classification, this cradle is designated as having a forked stick frame (Farmer 2013:18). The front of the frame is covered with horizontal shoots to create a platform for the baby to lay on. The frame is covered with hide, making it impossible to see how the horizontal sticks are attached to the frame. An additional strip of hide is attached to the covered frame at alternating sides, zig-zagging down the carrier. This strip of hide is used to secure the baby in the carrier. On the back of the platform there is a vertical shoot that runs down the center and is lashed to the horizontal shoots. There is a scoop-shaped sunshade attached at the top of the carrier with three rows of plain twining in raffia. The slant of weft is up to the right. The start is likely to be the broad end based on the way that warps are reduced to narrow the shade. It is difficult to determine the start and finish end because each side is covered with hide. At the widest point of the sunshade there is a band of red diagonal lines bordered in plain twined raffia. The red lines are made using string that passes over one warp at a time and then wraps around the sticks that make up the sunshade supporting arch. The sides of the supporting are decorated with vertical zig-zags in raffia. The ends of this arch are doubled over to form a loop, covered in raffia, and then tied to the carrier's frame with additional strips of hide. The broadest end of the sun shade is decorated with white and red glass seed beads. At the center there are three dangling elements of red, blue, and white beads, two of which have an abalone shell pendant at the end.

This baby carrier is typical of those made by Maidu cultures, which corroborates the information in the object record. The Maidu commonly made forked frame cradles with a platform made with horizontal shoots (Farmer 2013: 145; Shanks 2006:147).

(Sue Campbell 5/2/2017) This is a doll-size cradle basket in Maidu design style. It has an oak fork which goes all the way over and adheres to one side to make the curve on the top. It has winter willow, because some of the color is still on it. There is a willow stick up the back in the center that is twined on with yarn going all the way up through the center. It has deer hide, but this deer hide is not a smoked deer hide. This hide looks like it's a chemically processed hide because it is more of a tan color and it is soft on one side. It is on both sides, going from one side up to the other side. It also has a lacing with a deer hide going down the front to hold the baby in. The hood is made with very small willow sticks, but the interesting thing is that it has raffia coming down the sides. It looks like it is raffia doing the zig-zag pattern. At the bottom of the rib sticks they made a loop to tie onto the sticks, and it is also wrapped with raffia. On the top of the basket is deer hide that goes across the front of the basket and adheres on both sides to the ribs. It has red and white beads going up on both sides, and in the center it has a beaded hanging design with two abalone pieces. The beading is a flower design with a blue center, and red and white beads, and then it goes into red and white looped beads, and then down to straight blue, white, and red beads, then down into the two abalone. On the backside the design is a boy design with the lines and it is done with red yarn. There is some white yarn or string tied on the sides where the design ends that enter the rib sticks. They're criss-crossed, and it looks like that's to hold it together. There is some damage on (if you face the basket) on the left-hand side, where the sticks have been broken. One broken all the way, and about two or three sticks that are cracked. Again on the very bottom of the hood that attaches to the top of the basket, there is deer hide that is sewn and then tied to the top of the basket. It's really cute. Nice little basket.
Material oak, willow, hide, glass, beads, string, abalone, raffia
Place of Origin northern California
Provenance Maidu (Heather Martin 2/23/16)
Maidu (Sue Campbell 5/2/2017)
Dimensions H-15.5 W-15 L-37 cm
Imagefile 004\20110210-3.JPG
Caption 2011.02.10 image of the cradle from the top