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Organization Title

California Indian Baskets

Coiled Water Basket

California State Parks is the steward of many significant cultural treasures. The State Parks Indian basket collection includes over 3,000 baskets that reflect the diversity and antiquity of human experience of California Indians. The baskets vary in construction and usage. Many California Indians used watertight baskets for cooking acorn soup. Fire-heated stones were placed into food mixtures and stirred with a willow loop or paddle until the food was cooked. During ceremonial occasions and feasts, large cooking baskets were used to serve steaming hot food. 

The baskets in State Parks' collection illustrate the qualities that determine their strength and durability: weaving technique and selection of raw materials. Weavers select materials based on their properties and the intended function of the basket. The ability to weave a watertight basket demonstrates the sophisticated technology and plant knowledge possessed by many California Indians.

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Luiseno Rattlesnake Design
Tribal Affiliation
:  Luiseno
Basket Type:  Coiled basket
Dimensions:  Overall: 8cm x 34.5cm (3 1/8in. x 13 9/16in.)
Description:   Coiled basket on multi-grass warp; bowl shaped; foundation, epicampes grass; weft, sumac; background, straw color; design, brown; rattlesnake design; lizard design; Snake diamond back, formed by weaving stitches of ground color in outlines.
Collector:  Jessie Norris Fovgeus
Source:  Frances Murphy

Pomo Burden Basket
Tribal Affiliation:  Pomo
Basket Type:  Burden basket
Dimensions:  Overall: 63cm x 66cm (24 13/16in. x 26in.)
Description: Twined basket. Diagonal twined. Willow foundation; split redbud twining material; redbud design.  Used for gathering grass seeds.
Collector:  Unknown
Source:  Unknown
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Beaded Basket
Tribal Affiliation:  Pomo
Basket Type:  Cooking basket
Dimensions:  Overall: 22cm x 30cm (8 11/16in. x 11 13/16in.)
Description:  Twined basket. Diagonal twined. Peeled willow base; peeled, split redbud; unpeeled, split redbud; quail topknot feathers; white glass seed beads.  Made for sale.
Collector:  Benjamin W. Hathaway
Source:  Unknown
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Tree_Wing Design
Tribal Affiliation:  Washoe
Basket Type:  Medicine basket
Dimensions:  Overall: 12cm x 21.5cm x 27cm  (4 3/4in. x 8 7/16in. x 10 5/8in.)
Description:  Coiled basket. Oblong shaped; willow; redbud; brackenfern; background, buff color; design, red brown, black; triangle design; tree design. The "tree" design has stalk of red brown with branches stemming out into "leaves" or triangles of red brown outlines and black centers. Made for sale by Lena Dick.
Collector:  Unknown
Source:   Dr. Roscoe A. Day

Oval Shape
Tribal Affiliation:  Yokuts
Basket Type:   Bowl
Dimensions:   Overall: 16.5cm x 43.5 cm x 44.5 cm (6 ½ in. x 13 9/16 in. x 17 1/2in.)
Description:   Coiled basket. Oval shaped basket with eleven cross designs around bottom and 36 people holding hands on top. Warp, bunchgrass; weft, sedge root, redbud, brackenfern root. Designs; row (lower) of large, outlined crosses; row (upper) of human figures
Collector
: Unknown
Source:  Unknown

California Indian Water Basket
Tribal Affiliation:  Unknown
Basket Type:  Water basket
Dimensions:   Overall: 17.5cm x 25cm (6 7/8in. x 9 13/16in.)
Description:   Coiled basket.
Collector:    Unknown
Source:   M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

People Design
Tribal Affiliation: Yokuts
Basket Type:  Cooking basket
Dimensions:  Overall: 25.5cm x 58cm (10 1/16in. x 22 13/16in.)
Description:  Coiled basket
Collector:  Unknown
Source:   Unknown

Small Oval Design
Tribal Affiliation:  Chemehuevi
Basket Type:   Bowl
Dimensions:  Overall: 13cm x 21cm x 25cm  (5 1/8in. x 8 1/4in. x 9 13/16in.)
Description:   Coiled basket. Three-rod willow stick foundation; split willow coiling material; design of devil's claw, black, glossy; ground, straw color; design, dark brown; oblong, canoe shaped; side, high; diamond design, brown; rim, stitch, brown, solid. Oblong or canoe shape with high sides. Diamond shapes in between these bands are created by outline of diamonds stitched in two-inch stitches wide. 
Collector:   Benjamin W. Hathaway
Source:   Unknown

Flat Display
Tribal Affiliation:  Unknown
Basket Type:  Cooking basket
Dimensions:  Overall: 13.5cm x 25cm (5 5/16in. x 9 13/16in.)
Description:   Coiled basket. Used for cooking.
Source:  Unknown
Collector:  Unknown

Smooth Wide Design
Tribal Affiliation:   Pomo
Basket Type:   Bowl
Description:  Diagonal twined basket. Made for sale. Shu set weave bowl.
Dimensions:  Overall: 23cm x 26.5cm (9 1/16in. x 10 7/16in.)
Collector:   Unknown
Source:  Mrs. A. M. MacCallum
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Lipped edge deep brown pattern
Tribal Affiliation:  Pomo, Pitt River Tribe, Lake County
Basket Type:  Storage basket
Dimensions:  Overall: 27cm x 40cm (10 5/8in. x 15 3/4in.)  overall  1: 19.5cm (7 11/16in.)
Description:   Red bark bindings, design in mountain steps and sun bursts; small paper tag "Pitt River Tribe MHYM."  Small brass tag "49317."
Collector:   Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Bieber
Source:   M. H. de Young Memorial Museum
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Butterfly Beaded Basket
Tribal Affiliation:   Paiute, Mono Lake
Basket Type:   Bowl
Dimensions:   Overall: 7cm x 15cm (2 3/4in. x 5 7/8in.)
Description:  Coiled basket, beaded; butterfly design. Basket is covered with Italian seed beads and has a butterfly design. Made for sale. According to donor, Ethelynd Kelsey, "I acquired the basket from a Paiute Indian woman at Mono Lake, California, in 1922."
Collector:  Mrs. Ethelynd Kelsey
Source:  Mrs. Ethelynd Kelsey

Insect Pattern Basket
Tribal Affiliation:   Pitt River
Basket Type:  Bowl
Dimensions:   Overall: 16.5cm x 28cm (6 1/2in. x 11in.)
Description:   Twined basket. Made for sale
Collector:   Unknown
Source:   M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

Woven Butterfly Design Basket
Tribal Affiliation:  Unknown
Basket Type:   Bowl
Dimensions:  Overall: 9.5cm x 17.5cm (3 3/4in. x 6 7/8in.)
Description:   Coiled basket. Made for sale.
Collector:  Mrs. L. R. Cady
Source:   Mrs. L. R. Cady

Bird Small Woven Basket
Tribal Affiliation:   Washoe
Basket type:   Bowl
Dimensions:   Overall: 11.5cm x 16cm (4 1/2in. x 6 5/16in.)
Description:   Coiled basket. Foundation, willow stick, split, peeled; design, redbud, split, brackenfern root; triangle design, six, black; diamond design, bird design, outline, black; bird design, inside, red brown. Made by Lena Dick
Collector:   Unknown
Source:   Unknown

Basket Cap
Tribal Affiliation:   Trinity River Tribe
Basket Type:   Ceremonial cap
Dimensions:   Overall: 9.5cm x 18cm (3 3/4in. x 7 1/16in.)
Description:   Twined basket. Foundation is river willow stick; twine, river willow root. Design, overlay, beargrass, maidenhair fern, porcupine quill, dyed. Attachment made of dentalium shells (incised), glass beads (orange & black), woodpecker crests, cotton string. Used by females participating in or watching ceremonies.
Collector:   Benjamin W. Hathaway
Source:   Benjamin W. Hathaway

Feather and Tasseled Basket
Tribal Affiliation:   Pomo
Basket Type:   Fully feathered bowl
Dimensions: Overall: 6.4cm x 8.4cm (2 1/2in. x 3 5/16in.)
Description:  Coiled basket. Willow, buff color. Exterior is entirely covered with feathers: topknot, black (quail); green (mallard); orange, red, yellow (woodpecker); brown (robin). Seed beads, glass, blue; disc beads, clam shell, white; iridescent. Squat, globular shape. Rim bordered with 16 quail top-knots and 32 clam shell disc beads with blue glass seed beads. Rim has in black ink, "6291."
Collector:  Charles P. Wilcomb
Source:  Hall-Sheedy Collection
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Feathered bowl and curios
Tribal Affiliation:  Pomo
Basket Type:  Feather Bowl
Dimensions:  Overall: 4.5cm x 3cm x 20cm  (1 3/4in. x 1 3/16in. x 7 7/8in.)
Description:   Coiled basket. Pomo 3-rod feathered plate. Basket made of sedge root (carex barbarae) completely covered with green feathers (mallard); brown (robin); yellow (meadowlark); red (acorn woodpecker); white clamshell disc beads; black quail topknots.  Ring of 52 quail topknots under discs. Native string with five clam shell discs knotted on extending from one side of rim edge to other. Made for sale.
Collector:  Benjamin W. Hathaway
Source:  Benjamin W. Hathaway
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Basket Weaving Materials

California Indian Basket Weaving Materials