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Catalog Number 2011.02.14
Object Name Cradle, Basket
Collection Dorothy Hill Cradleboard Collection
Description (Heather Martin 6/30/2016) This is a miniature baby carrier with a sun shade that holds a doll. Following Farmer's classification, this cradle is designated as a basketry-platform cradle with a two-ply platform (Farmer 2013:23). In other words, the platform is made by sandwiching two separate plat pieces together. The back ply, which has horizontal warps cut into a trapezoidal shape, was made first by creating two rows of diagonal twining in red bud (Cercis occidentalis) along each vertical margin of the platform. The rows were twined to create a checkered pattern by twisting the weft material so that the red bud bark only showed on every other stitch. The vertical warps of the front ply were diagonally twining twined together for two and a quarter inches using the same checkered pattern. This vertical ply was then placed over the horizontal ply and connected with a piece of weft material that passes under two warps of the back ply and over one warp of the front ply, creating a repeating diamond shape pattern that can be seen on both sides of the platform. During this process, warps were added to the margin of the front ply to create a trapezoidal shape to match the back ply. It should be noted that the front ply is slightly smaller than the back ply, with the back ply extending three-quarters of an inch beyond the front ply on the sides. To finish the cradle the margins and top of the platform are concealed in a coil of red bud weft that includes the outermost row of diagonal twining on the back ply. The sun shade is shaped like an arch and created using four spaced bands of diagonal twining, two rows for each band. In the middle of the shade there is a band of diamonds created with a redbud weft that also incorporates the shade support in the same way that the two plies of the platform are attached. The sides of the support are diagonally twined in the checkered pattern. Attached to the sun shade are three groups of two beaded strands, each with white, red, blue, and black beads and a whole Olivella shell bead at the end. The doll in the cradle is probably hand made with cloth using a sewing machine. It has a yellow and plaid dress and is bound to the cradle with complex braids of colored yarn and leather strips.

Two-ply cradles such as this are made by the Foothill Yokuts, Western Mono, Northern Paiute, and Owens Lake Paiute (Farmer 2013:71, 76, 160, 182). This cradle most closely resembles those of the Western Mono, which use designs on peeled and unpeeled redbud that match on the shade and platform, as well as an arch shaped shade, rather than a scoop (Farmer 2013:76-80. The pattern on the hood is often an indicator of the gender of the baby that the cradle was made for, with diamonds traditionally representing a girl (Farmer 2013:77). The cultural attribution of Western Mono for this cradle corroborates the documentation provided by the donor.
Material red bud, cotton, beads, olivella, yarn, leather
Place of Origin eastern California
Provenance Western Mono (Heather Martin 6/30/2016)
Dimensions H-20 W-23.5 L-45.5 D-17 Dia-20.5 Cir-30.5 cm
Imagefile 004\20110214-2.JPG
Caption 2011.02.14 image showing the detail of the hood