Pomo artist, Gift Basket, ca. 1900/1920, willow, sedge root, clamshell beads, abalone shells, quail feathers, mallard feathers, and meadowlark feathers, The Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection, no known copyright restrictions, 91.95.35
This work is not currently on view.
willow, sedge root, clamshell beads, abalone shells, quail feathers, mallard feathers, and meadowlark feathers
- Dimensions (H x W x D)
2 in x 8 in diam.
- Collection Area
Native American Art
- Object Type
- Cultural Group
- Credit Line
The Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection
- Accession Number
no known copyright restrictions
Feathered baskets were an important trade item and a symbol of wealth among the Pomo. They were considered appropriate gifts at special occasions and were used as offerings at funerals and mourning ceremonies. The brightly colored feathers, added to the basket as it is made, provide a design mosaic, while the basketry foundation is left plain. Flat saucer-shaped hanging baskets, like this one, were originally decorated only in red feathers. The addition of other colors and patterns was an innovation that began around 1900 as a reponse to collectors' wishes. Handmade clam shell beads added around the rim along with triangular pieces of abalone shell as pendants increased the traditional value of the basket. Magnesite beads were sometimes used as an alternative to clam shell beads. Referred to as "Indian gold," magnesite is white when it comes out of the ground. Pomo men would ceremonially heat it over a fire - causing the magnesite to turn a golden orange color - before working it into beads.