Lower Klamath River storage basket
7 3/4 in. x 12 3/4 in. (19.69 cm x 32.39 cm)
North America, United States
Medium and Support:
Hazel or willow warp shoots; conifer root weft; bear grass and fern overlay material; rope/string
Gift of S. O. Johnson
Technique: Twined basket. Full twist overlay. Overlay is fully visible on the interior and the interior is much rougher with many overlay ends visible. The overlay is predominantly bear grass on the background but with the fern overlay for the design.
Design: Variation on the wax’poo design done in fern overlay.
Structure: I see some hairs stuck in the sides. It is beautifully woven, strong and has a perfectly flat bottom all of conifer – hard to achieve. This one likely would have been used because it is the right size and has so much wear. There is one area of the sides with lots of damage, but other than the one area of damage it’s actually a very strong basket. It’s a strong weave certainly, but it has started to flex and give in places over time. The inside is a bit rougher with all the overlay ends peeking through. It seems generally pretty aged too (at least 70 years but maybe a lot more), the plants seem older and less shiny. This basket has lots of staining from oils and rubbing marks from handling. There are some rope fragments on the rim, possibly from carrying or hanging straps, right near the damaged area so this could be related to that wear from handling by the straps.
Cultural affiliation notes: The record states, “lower Klamath River storage basket” and I think it would be accurate to assume that refers to the area close to the mouth of the Klamath, the NW corner of California home to the Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk communities. This very much fits the basketry style and materials of that region. Storage baskets in the Karuk alphabet were called C+´P-NOK-MÚ-YON-NUR or sipnuk.
Jesse Dutton-Kenny, Visiting Researcher, October 26th - 27th & 29th - 30th, 2020
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This object was included in the following exhibitions: