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Hupa twined basketry tray used for holding gambling wagers

20th Century
20th Century
6 1/2 in. x 22 1/2 in. (16.51 cm x 57.15 cm)

Native American, Native American

Object Type: Baskets
Creation Place: North America, United States
Medium and Support: Hazel or willow warp shoots; conifer root weft; woodwardia fern dyed with alder bark, bear grass and maidenhair fern overlay materials; string on exterior
Credit Line: Gift of Laurette Schorcht in Honor of Doris Dennison, Music Direcotr, Dance Department, 1939-1972
Accession Number: 1997.14.1
Technique: Twined basket. Half-twist overlay, no overlay shows through to the exterior, but interior is fully covered in overlay. It is bear grass for the background overlay, maidenhair fern and woodwardia fern overlay making up the design on top of the conifer root weft.

Design: It’s a wax’poo or friendship design just like many of the hats, some of the same markers of the hat design with the medallion in the center and somewhat of a three-section division. Looks like a wax’poo variation, similar to one on page 119-120 of Kroeber, also called apxanko’ikoi design by the Karuk that corresponds to the wax’poo of the Yurok.

Structure: I’m so curious about these trays, it’s like an inverted hat in some ways with the design. It holds its tray/bowl shape with the rods woven around the exterior. There are 6 of these rods all the way from the center of the very bottom to halfway up the sides. What is interesting here is that the bottom/protected support rods are all still attached with the original plant fibers and the top ones that would have had a lot more wear all have some repairs using string to hold them on. These are definitely more recent. There also is not a ton of wear or use on the interior but the string repairs indicate some wear and use over time. I read in a blog from the Clarke Museum in Eureka that it can be hard to tell the gambling trays and flour preparation trays apart because they were similar in shape, size, style - but due to the heavy overlay materials and lake of residue, I’d say gambling fits more for this one. Virginia Fields also notes that gambling trays are deeper than other trays and more commonly use maidenhair fern as overlay.

Cultural affiliation notes: The record states, “Hupa gambling tray” and that seems accurate. Very much matches Hupa styles but I’d be curious how the donor came to know it was Hupa instead of Yurok or Karuk, 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
Clarke Museum Blogs / mini exhibits. Clarke Historical Museum in Eureka, CA:
Fields, Virginia (text). The Hoover Collection of Karuk Baskets, The Clarke Memorial Museum. Portland: Graphic Arts Center, 1985.

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

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version

  • Height and diameter Dimensions: 6 1/2 x 22 1/2 in. (165.1 x 571.5 mm)

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