Origin: California, likely Patwin tribe
Date: 19th Century
Media: Black bracken fern root, tanned sedge root over a 3-rod willow foundation
Dimensions: 14″ diameter, 7.5″ tall
Description: This is a beautiful, early and bold basket. The three elemental designs in black are both bold and fine at the same time. Their solid bodies of black make for a strong statement, whereas their feathering edges of banded rows contributes to the fine sense of scale. It appears this basket was originally made with a rounded bottom, and while this has flattened a bit over time, the basket does not sit straight. This could be easily adjusted with a small coil underneath it. I prefer the original tilt, as it reminds me of the earlier age in this piece. Later baskets were made with flat bottoms, since that’s how the tourists liked them, but the original cooking baskets had rounded bases. There is an old label at the base of the basket, but it can not be read.
Condition: There are missing stitches as seen in the photos, but the wear is much less than one would expect for an early basket like this.