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Ceremonial Cap, Klamath River groups (Hupa, Yurok, Karuk) NW California

ca. 1920
20th Century
4 1/2 in. x 6 3/4 in. (11.43 cm x 17.15 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; string on edge
Accession Number: 1985.4.2
Size: 6 ½ in diameter, so it is a little small, but it fits most of the hat conventions

Technique: Twined basket. It’s fully covered in overlay which makes me think it’s not a bowl, but it could just be another “fancy basket,” but I really do think it’s a hat. It is dominantly a bear grass background with woodwardia stripes and a maidenhair design overlay. The interior is really clean with no overlay, making it a half-twist overlay.

Design: Looks like another wax’poo variation, looks quite like the one on page 129-131 of Kroeber, which he describes is an apxanko’ikoi design of the Karuk that corresponds to the wax’poo of the Yurok. He notes that the word apxan in Karuk means basketry caps, and the second part, koikoi seems to mean up down, up down referring to the style of the pattern. Sometimes called a friendship design. It does have a slight lifeline at the top but doesn’t have one at the brim, and that threw me a little initially.

Structure: I wasn’t totally sure until I got to see it next to some of the others, but I do think this is a hat. There is some fragment/knot on the edge that looks like rope not plant material, possibly from hanging for display.

Cultural affiliation notes: Fits most classic conventions of a Hupa, Yurok, and/or Karuk cap.

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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