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Object Record

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Catalog Number 2011.02.16
Object Name Cradle, Basket
Collection Dorothy Hill Cradleboard Collection
Collector Dorothy Hill
Description (Heather Martin 6/27/16) This is a trapezoidal-shaped baby carrier with a sun shade. Following Farmer's classification, this cradle is designated as a basketry platform cradle in the one-ply platform style with vertical warps (Farmer 2013:21). Both the warp and weft material are probably willow (Salix sp.). The cradle is likely started at the narrow end where the warp ends are covered in leather. The platform is twined to the right with an up-to-the-right slant of weft. At the end of the row, both wefts are wrapped around the edge warp to create an "X" pattern as it is carried up one and a half inches to the next row. The platform is then flipped over to twine the next row, continuing to the right with an up-to-the-right slant of weft. Weaving continues in this manner to the top edge of the basket, where the warp material is used to conceal the warp ends and a reinforcing stick. There are two horizontal reinforcing rods lashed at even intervals to the back of the platform. On the front bottom two-thirds of the platform there are two strips of leather running down the lateral edges, tied at even intervals. There is a bundle of leather attached to the left side, presumably used to secure the baby by tying it to the lateral strips. A leather carrying strap is attached to the lateral strips at the front and then wrapped around the back of the carrier. The scoop-shaped sunshade is attached at the top of the carrier with pink yarn. The shade is diagonally twined, with twining rows grouped in pairs that are spaced about an inch apart. The slant of weft is up to the right. It is difficult to determine the start because the narrow end is concealed in a coil and the edges and broad end are covered with purple cotton cloth. At the widest point of the sunshade there is a zig-zag band made with pink, green, and purple yarn. This band is made by passing the yarn over two warps at a time and then wrapping it around the sticks that make up the sunshade supporting arch. The sides of the supporting are decorated with zig-zag patterns in the warp material and then attached to the platform with strips of purple cotton material.

One-ply platform cradles such as these are common among the Native people of the southern Sierras and western great basin. However, cradles with two horizontal reinforcing rods are known only from Washoe and Mono Lake Paiute weavers (Farmer 2013:157, 177). The only difference in this cradle type between the two groups is in the overall shape of the cradle, with Washoe cradles tending to be more narrow, straight-sided, and tapering only in the bottom half (Farmer 2013:157). This cradle fits that description, implying that it is more likely to be a Washoe cradle. This contradicts the documentation provided by the basket's collector that states that the cradle is Paiute. It may be that this was a misidentification or that the carrier is truly of Paiute origin and only coincidentally matches the Washoe shape.
Material willow, leather, cotton fabric, yarn
Place of Origin East of the Sierra Mountains
Provenance Wahoe or Paiute (Heather Martin 6/27/16)
Dimensions H-26.2 W-22.9 L-74.4 cm
Imagefile 004\20110216-5.JPG
Caption 2011.02.16 image of the cradle from the top