13 in. x 6 1/2 in. x 4 in. (33.02 cm x 16.51 cm x 10.16 cm)
Size: 1This is the one of the two miniature baskets in the collection.
Technique: Open weave twined basket of plain hazel or willow shoots, almost certainly hazel. Some bear grass used to weave braised straps holding on the cap and creating the hook on the back.
Design: These baskets are much less decorative because kids grow out of them so quickly and they’re more susceptible to damage if they get heavy use, so there isn’t really a design element in terms of an overlay pattern.
Structure: This basket is in wonderful condition, near perfect. It’s a baby basket model almost certainly made for sale. We know it’s a model because: size, the old label, it's in almost too perfect condition, the strap locking in the cap, the hook on the back for hanging as an art object. According to one of the blogs from the Clarke Museum, baby baskets often had this second cap piece, also called a “breather,” which went over the baby’s head to protect from sun, bugs, and bumps. This one’s got a lovely strap attaching the cap, but we can note it is specifically woven into the basket so the cap can’t really be moved. It’s like the maker tied off the cap. It also has the same style braided strap, woven from bear grass I think, used to make a hook on the back of the basket. This hook indicates to me that it was used for display or hanging as a souvenir/art object
Cultural affiliation notes: The record just says Northwest California, and this is very much in the style of the Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk baby baskets in NW California, most commonly see these labelled Hupa. The tag on the interior says “1948.31 / model cradle / southern CA.” I would argue it’s certainly not Southern California, it’s too much the Hupa style.
Citation: Clarke Museum Blogs/mini exhibits. Clarke Historical Museum in Eureka, CA: http://www.clarkemuseum.org/mini-exhibits
Jesse Dutton-Kenny, Visiting Researcher, October 26th - 27th & 29th - 30th, 2020