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Catalog Number 254.001
Object Name Basket, Trinket
Collector Found in CSUC Stiles warehouse during reorganization in 1990.
Description (Heather Martin) This is a small coiled globular shaped bowl. The foundation is a combination of rods, splints, and grass. The workface is the exterior and the work direction is to the right. The basket has a pinhole start with no indentation. The stitches are not widely spaced, and at least fifty percent of the stitches are split on the interior, while stitches are only occasionally split on the exterior. The rim finish is plain wrapped and the coil ending is tapered, with the weft knotted on itself for the last two stitches. The slant of weft is mixed due to the interlocking stitches. The fag ends are clipped and bound under, while the moving ends are concealed. The foundation is a combination of a peeled shoot and grass, probably deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens). The weft background material is a split peeled shoot, possibly willow (Salix sp.) or maple (Acer macrophyllumI). There are no obvious designs on the basket, however there are remnants of designs that have been lost. Two coils below the rim, there are downward facing triangle shapes created using weft substitution. This material appears to be a grass that was died red, but the dye has since faded. This design repeats four times around the basket. At the widest point of the basket there are two coils (four coils apart) with feather quills in the foundation, indicating that there were once feathers extending from the basket. There are additional areas with quills in the foundations throughout that basket that do not seem to form a pattern. At the base of the basket there are two spots where a split peeled shoot is woven in front of and then behind the weft stitches. At the widest point of the basket there is one spot where there is a green piece of commercial thread tangled in the foundation and weft stitches. The start of the basket is done in a grass material that resembles the grass used in the foundation. There are no obvious signs of use, though there are some white stains that appear to be paint on the interior, and insect burrowing holes throughout the basket.

This basket was previously identified by Mary Wahl as being an old Maidu basket. While this basket features the Maidu characteristics of split stitches and the use of maple and feathers, the rightward work direction, use of splints in the foundation, and the weft splices are not consistent with Maidu basketry (Shanks 2006:135-138). The use of splints in the foundation is a unique feature used only by the Yuki, Wailaki, and Cahto (Shanks 2006:104; Shanks 2015:55, 70). All three groups also are known to work to the right, irregularly split stitches, and clip the fag ends, all features in this basket (Shanks 2006:104-106; Shanks 2015:55, 70). These three groups use red bud wefts, which have not been identified in this basket, though the material in this basket has not been positively identified. The Yuki, Wailaki, and Cahto have some differences in their basketry technology that may aid in a more specific identification. Yuki baskets often have what Shanks calls "random rectangles," strips of weft material in which the red bud bark is not fully stripped, resulting in random rectangles in a darker color. This basket has no random rectangles, indicating that it is less likely to be a Yuki basket. Wailaki coiled baskets are often trinket or gift baskets, rather than utilitarian baskets, which is consistent with this basket. The Cahto are the only of the three groups known to use feathers in their coiled baskets. Therefore, this basket is most likely to Wailaki or Cahto, though the Yuki cannot be confidently ruled out. It is also important to note that the use of non-native materials, such as died grasses and commercial threads, complicate any attribution to a particular cultural style.

(Don Hankins 10/27/2016) Coiled basket foundation in primarily pine needle, with some willow, and feather rods. Sourberry start finished with maple or willow. Some burnt willow incorporated into "pattern." Not sure of the origin of this one, and I wonder if it is not made by a Native American weaver.

(Mary Wahl 4/19/2001) Maidu start. Basket is older, not tourist. Made by either a novice or an elderly woman. Weave is uneven. Split-stitch signifies Maidu. Start is a different material, not willow, than rest of basket

Material deer grass, willow, red bud, sumac, maple
Place of Origin northwestern California
Provenance Wailaki or Cahto (Heather Martin)
Maidu (Mary Wahl 4/19/2001)
Date Collected: March 1990
Dimensions H-13.97 Dia-10.16 cm
Imagefile 004\254001-6.JPG
Caption 254.001 image of base of basket