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Catalog Number 045.021a,b
Object Name Cradle, Basket
Collection Dr. Fred R. Neumann Basketry Collection
Collector Dr. Fred R. Neumann
Description (Heather Martin 6/5/16) This is a miniature baby carrier with a seat, handle, and sun shade. Following Farmer's classification, this cradle is designated as s sit down cradle in the Slipper style, where the toe of the slipper shape creates a seat for the baby (Farmer 2013:20). The warps are made of willow (Salix sp.) and the wefts are made with willow or hazel (Corylus sp.). The seat of the carrier is formed by twining a series of horizontal warps. This portion has four groups of plain twining with a slant of weft that alternates between up-to-the-right and down-to-the-right. The back of the carrier is connected by wrapping the vertical warps of the back to the lower-most horizontal warp of the seat. These vertical warps then double over themselves and are secured by the first three rows of twining on the back. These first rows of twining on the back also incorporate the lower portion of horizontal warps, serving to bend the horizontal warps into the vertical position to form the walls of the carrier. As twining continues, all of the warps that form the seat are bent upward to form the walls. The back and walls of the carrier are done in open plain twining in groups of two and three rows, also with an alternating slant of weft. The warps are trimmed after the final row of twining. The front edge of the basket is reinforced with a coil of weft material and bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax) that incorporates the edge wefts. This front coil extends from the top of the basket and is looped over to join the opposite edge, creating a handle. At the top front edge there are two pieces of beige cotton string that are strung from edge to edge. The sun shade is made with the same materials. It has a cross-warp start and is made with open-work plain twining that spirals to the outer edge. The slant of weft is up-to-the-right, the workface is the convex side, and the work direction is to the right. The rim is finished in the same manner as the carrier.

This Slipper style baby carrier is typical of those made by Northwestern California cultures, which includes Hupa, Yurok, Karuk. Tolowa, Whilkut, as well as Shasta. (Farmer 2013: 20). This corroborates Mary Wahl's identification, who identified the baby carrier as Hupa in 2001. However, with no further information, it cannot be determined which of these six cultural groups the weaver identified with.

(Susan Campbell 5/2/17) This is a Yurok or Hupa basket, I would say Yurok. It has bear grass on the rim of the basket along with the bull root. This basket is made out of hazel sticks, so is the hood. And this is a shade hood that goes along with the basket, and that beautiful yellow is the bear grass. Sometimes they could dye it with porcupine quills, and I think some of these are dyed and some are not. But they can turn a kind of yellow, but that definitely looks like it is dyed. This bottom part (the opening near the seat) will tell you whether the cradle is for a boy or girl. If it's really wide at the bottom then it is a girl's; that's to let the baby girls have plenty of room for their hips to grow. They pray that when the baby grows, she won't have any problems during childbirth; that the baby can come through and the mother will have good luck having the baby. Boy's cradles would be more rounded because they don't need that hip width. These are beautiful baskets, made to actually hang. There would normally be leather across the front to strap the baby in, and the baby sits in these baskets. Our (Maidu) babies lay, these babies sit with their legs coming out, and then on the backside they would have leather to hold them, also hang them in the tree and stuff. And what they would do if anything happens to the baby, they would break the handle part on the very top in half to destroy the basket, then they would bury it. So if you see a broken handle on top you know a tragedy befell the baby, but there's a great little video out about the cradle baskets that talk a lot about this.

Mary Wahl 4/19/2001) Hupa.
Material willow, hazel, string. beargrass
Place of Origin Northern CA
Provenance Hupa (Mary Wahl 4/19/2001)
Northwestern CA style (Heather Martin 6/5/16)
Dimensions H-24.13 W-33.02 L-83.82 cm
Imagefile 004\045021ab-2.JPG
Caption 045.021 plan-view image of the cradle