Pomo Gift Basket, ca. 1860
I'm pretty sure that my father collected it while he was working out West when he was in college. My father became an anthropologist archaeologist and founded the anthropology department of Florida State University. We would travel... like, when I was 12, we went to Panama and stayed with the Choco Indians up the Chagres River. And stuff that was laying around, it was just... they were just there. It was like things in the house. He passed away too soon for me to really understand everything that he had. I've had this in my house for 25 years.
And how do you display it?
This has just been actually in a closet because the way the beadwork is loose, it would get torn up by our two children.
All right. Well, it's an extraordinary basket made by the Pomo of Northern California, and the Pomo Indians are known for their basketry excellence. A large basket like this was a sign of someone being very prosperous. This basket was probably made about 1850 to 1875.
And it was probably made for native use and not for sale. Baskets like this would be used for life passage situations: births, dowries, to pay a debt. This was a gift basket. It has gift basket attributes, where you have the beads attached to it. It's absolutely beautifully woven. If you pick it up and look at the stitch... the stitching along there, can you see it? There's almost an illusion of movement.
Right, of like a spiral. I've noticed it, but never really taken notice of it.
Partially, your view of it would be diminished by all that dust in there. It's suffered for the times a little bit. There's some condition issues on it. One thing I want to share with you: when you pick up a basket of this size, you always want to pick it up from the base because there's a lot of weight in the base of this basket. So if you pick it up by the rim, you stand a chance of getting some of this rim in your hand breaking off because of the brittleness of it.
Okay, I've always done usually on the sides, below the beadwork.
A basket like this, if it was on a retail market today, would fall in the range of $8,000 to $10,000.
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