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Catalog Number 2009.01.33a
Object Name Basket, Trinket
Other Name basket base
Collection Valene Smith Posey Inuit Collection
Description (Heather Martin 9/25/2016) This is a lidded coiled basket. The workface is the exterior, the work direction is to the right, and the slant of weft is down to the right. The stitches are not interlocking and there are many split stitches on the interior of the basket, though these appear to be unintentional. Both the foundation and the weft are an unidentified grass material, with designs done in grass that is died green and brown. The basket has a tight spiral start that is not indented. The walls of the basket are decorated by substituting weft colors, concealing the fag ends and moving ends in the foundation. The designs consists of brown crosses with green centers, spaced evenly around the basket in a checkerboard pattern. The rim of the basket is plain wrapped with a tapered coil ending that is secured with one backstitch. The lid of the basket is made in the same way. After the lid was finished, an additional thick coil was added to the underside of the lid to form a lip. The design on the lid consists of a zigzag band that was created by passing alternating green and brown pieces over the completed coil row. Other than a few broken stitches on the lip of the lid, that basket has no signs of use or other damage.

The documentation of this basket states that it was made around 1930 in Kotzebue, Alaska and was made by the Yupik. Since there is little published information on basketry from this region, I visited the C. Hart Merriam Basketry Collection at the Museum of Anthropology at UC Davis to find baskets similar to this one. I analyzed five baskets, four that came from Port Clarence, Alaska, and a fifth that had no documentation. The four baskets from Port Clarence had mechanical features that were similar to this basket. The only difference was that each of the Port Clarence basket had clipped fag ends. The basket that lacked documentation had mechanical features that were identical to this basket. The slight difference between the Kotzebue basket and the Port Clarence basket is likely due to the fact the two groups of baskets were made by neighboring cultures. Kotzebue is within the territory of the Kotzebue Sound Eskimo (Burch, Jr. 1986:303-319), while Port Clarence is within the Bering Strait Eskimo territory (Ray 1986:286). The Kotzebue Sound Eskimo belong to the Inupiaq group, rather than the Yupik group.
Material grass, dye
Place of Origin Alaska
Provenance Kotzebue Sound Eskimo (Heather Martin 9/25/2016)
Dimensions H-18 W-15.5 L-10 cm
Imagefile 004\20090133a-7.JPG
Caption 2009.01.33 image showing the start from the interior