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Object Record

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Catalog Number 270.002
Object Name Basket, Cooking
Description (Heather Martin 4/14/2016) This is a twined cooking basket with relatively straight sides. The slant of weft is up to the right, the work direction is to the right, and the workface is the exterior. The basket has an indented cross-warp start surrounded by a half an inch of three-strand twining. There is one inch of plain twinning followed by two rows of three-strand twining separated by one row of plain twining. The basket is then plain twined to the rim. The warps are trimmed at the rim and the end of the last weft row is missing. The warp materials are probably hazel (Corylus sp.) and the weft material is conifer root with a single-sided overlay (showing through on the back face in an irregular pattern) of bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax). The overlay design creates a band on the upper portion of the basket with a geometric abstract design created in the negative spaces. The basket has five burn marks on the interior, no light passes through the spaces between the stitches, and the basket is relatively heavy. These are all indications that the basket was used for cooking.

This basket was likely made in the Northwestern region of California. These cultures included Yurok, Karuk, Hupa, Tolowa, and Whilkut. While Mary Wahl attributed this basket to the Hupa, all of these cultures use single-sided overlays of bear grass, which can be seen in this basket (Shanks 2015:18). This basket resembles a cooking basket, which varied in shape across cultures in Northwestern California. This basket more closely resembles Tolowa cooking baskets, which are widest at the upper portion of the basket, typically near the reinforcing lattice-twined bands (Shanks 2015:22). However, this basket does not have the lattice-twined reinforcing rods typical to this area, which indicate that it was a ceremonial cooking basket (Shanks 2015:23). The indications that the basket was used for cooking suggest that this was a utilitarian basket, rather than for ceremonial use.

(Mary Wahl 4/19/2001) Negative basket means there is more dark color than light. Very rare design, made by Hupa. Dark brown is brown conifer root. Light color is bear grass. Dark pattern does not show through on the inside of the basket.
Material hazel, conifer root, bear grass
Place of Origin northwestern California
Provenance Hupa (Mary Wahl 4/19/01)
Tolowa (Heather Martin 4/14/16)
Dimensions H-11 Dia-19 cm
Imagefile 004\270002-5.JPG
Caption 270.002 image showing the start from the interior