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Klamath burden basket

before 1969
20th Century
14 3/8 in. x 15 1/2 in. (36.51 cm x 39.37 cm)

Native American, Native American

Object Type: Baskets
Creation Place: North America, United States
Medium and Support: Possibly willow or sumac with Conifer root weft. Bear grass and fern for the overlay.
Credit Line: Found in Collection
Accession Number: 1969.71
Technique: Twined basket with a full-twist overlay (design in fully visible on interior and exterior). It’s very strong and sturdy, probably a sumac warp? Possibly sumac wrapped around the edge too? It’s twined with a bear grass overlay and fern used for the designs.

Design: For the design in the top band, I’ve seen this described in other sources as the flying geese design, Kroeber describes this on 121-122 as a variation on the foot design or umetsqaa in Yurok. The central portion looks like a variation on the wax’poo design combined with one of the stripe or snake patterns (since it zig zags).

Structure: So similar to 1997.14.3 and 1932.17, might be good to relate in some way. It is what is typically called a burden basket for gathering. Can also call it a gathering basket or a conical basket. Has lots of residue inside, maybe from use with acorns or other food from gathering. There are many hairs inside and outside, hard to tell if they’re human or animal. No clear markers of carrying strap or any kind of strings. It’s a little warped in structure, from age or use, but holding its shape very well. There’s some residue of an old price tag/label on the inside.

Cultural affiliation notes: Klamath region. It looks so much like another one I’ve seen at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History that was labelled Maidu. I would say it’s so, so similar that I would think it’s Klamath/Modoc, Pit River, Maidu, somewhere in NE California.

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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