Havasupai Woman With Basket


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Unknown Unknown inh410pa.jpg IN-H-410 Cyanotype 1501.0410.0001 inh410pa Print 4x5 Historic Photographs 1890s Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives

Description

Havasupai woman weaving a basket.

Baskets were the Havasupai's most important domestic utensil. They made baskets of every shape imaginable. Because of their isolation, they continued to make traditional baskets into the 1930s without outside influence.

The art of basket-making dates far back to the Havasupai because their baskets largely take the place of pottery as water containers, burden carriers, and storage bins.

Havasupai baskets are of six types.  These are burden baskets, water bottles, shallow bowls or trays in twine and in coil, stone-boiling bowls and parching trays. The first two and the last mentioned types are always made with twine weave. The others are made sometimes in twine, sometimes with a coiled technique.

The real artistry of the Havasupai woman is seen in her trays and bowls. These are usually made of the split twigs of cat's claw, Acacia greggii, decorated with the black outer layer of the seedpod of the devil's claw, Martynia sp. In shape they vary from round or oval plaques, nearly flat but with slightly upturned margins, to baskets of bowl or cylindrical proportions.

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