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California Hupa woven plaque

ca. 1920
20th Century
1 in. x 8 in. (2.54 cm x 20.32 cm)

Native American, Native American

Object Type: Baskets
Creation Place: North America, United States, California
Medium and Support: Hazel or willow warp shoots, very likely willow; conifer root weft; bear grass and maidenhair fern overlay, stripe of woodwardia fern dyed with alder bark
Accession Number: 1985.4.4
Technique: Twined flat basketry plaque with open-work plaited edge. Half twist overlay of bear grass and maidenhair fern for the center medallion portion (no overlay shows through to the backside). Conifer root in the very center with one woodwardia fern stripe near the center.

Design: This basketry plaque has a similar 3 triangle design to 1948.50, which looks like another wax’poo variation. It actually looks quite like the one on page 129-131 of Kroeber, which he describes is an apxanko’ikoi design of the Karuk

Structure: This is a plaque or a wall hanging, like you might display a plate or other flat decoration on a wall. It’s a mid-2oth century innovation of Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk weavers in NW California. Weavers would have to start with pretty long and thinner warp sticks of willow or hazel (likely willow as young willow shoots would be very flexible) because it’s the warp sticks that actually loop around to form the plaited edge. It’s a pretty similar start/button to the basketry caps of this region, but it just doesn’t continue into the body of the hat. Maybe some hat weavers developed this style? It’s just the right size for that. The edging is almost all 3 strands together, except in one part where its 5 strands, maybe that’s where you would hang it, the strongest part? There is some damage and small breaks throughout the edging.

Cultural affiliation notes: The record states “Hupa” and I think it would be accurate to assume that’s correct. Very much matches the style of this region, but I’d be curious how the donor came to know it was Hupa specifically, perhaps they knew a little more about where they acquired it.

Citation: Kroeber, Alfred L. “Basket Designs of the Indians of Northwestern California.” University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 2, no. 4 (1905): 105-164

Jesse Dutton-Kenny, Visiting Researcher, October 26th - 27th & 29th - 30th, 2020

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