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Twined ceremonial basket cap, Karuk

early 20th Century
20th Century
3 1/2 in. x 6 in. (8.89 cm x 15.24 cm)

Native American, Native American

Object Type: Baskets
Creation Place: North America, United States, NW California
Medium and Support: Hazel or willow warp shoots; conifer root weft; woodwardia fern dyed with alder bark, bear grass and maidenhair fern overlay materials
Credit Line: Gift of Laurette Schorcht in honor of Doris Dennison, Music Director, Dance Dept. 1939-1972
Accession Number: 2005.133
Size: This one is much smaller than expected, 5 ¾ in diameter (I’d expect more like 6 ¾ - 7 ½ in or so)

Technique: Twined basket. This is also a “red hat” of predominantly woodwardia overlay, with some overlay visible on the inside making it a full twist overlay.

Design: 3 elaborate flint designs in bear grass overlay on the woodwardia background and stripes of maidenhair fern. Looks like the flint (in Yurok VEniigemaa) and snake design on page 126-130 of Kroeber. The lifelines are very pronounced, with a stick woven in which makes me think it is probably Karuk because that’s one of their indicators plus the “red hats” being more likely Karuk. There are no hairs on this cap that I could see.

Structure: The weave is super strong, and the cap is beautiful, incorporating many materials and a bold design, definitely made by an experienced weaver. There is 1 big hair visible, stuck in the top of the hat on the outside

Cultural affiliation notes: A classic Hupa, Yurok, and/or Karuk ceremonial cap, most likely Karuk. Like 2005.131, this cap has all the hallmarks of a ceremonial cap, but it is so much smaller than some of the others, likely made for trade or sale in 20th century. The ones that were too small to wear were often for sale (it’s also quicker to make it smaller).

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

  • Height and diameter Dimensions: 3 1/2 x 6 in. (88.9 x 152.4 mm)

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