Glenbow Museum - Where the World Meets the West

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Title: Basket

Date: mid 20th century

Creator: Unknown

Additional Creator Information: Coast Salish (Quinault)

Medium: spruce root, cherry bark, leather, cord

Can you see how three different colours have been used on this basket? To make it, the woman artist split pieces of brown cedar root and wrapped them around a splint foundation. She then coiled these strands in a concentric circle, starting at the centre of the bottom. Red and white cherry bark has been added using a technique called imbrication on top of the cedar root.

As a result of this process, it looks like two different coloured backgrounds were used with the red bark making a pattern. This technique required a great deal of planning and skill. The artist used both positive and negative space to create this stunning effect.

There are leather thongs and cord loops that are tied through holes along the top edge of the basket. Why would these cords be attached to a basket? They may have been used to suspend the basket for cooking. Notice how blackened the inside is. This may be a result of its use for cooking.

But how do you cook with a basket? They probably can't be held over a fire, but the very tight weave makes the vessel watertight. The basket could then be filled with liquid and/or food and heated rocks were then added to make the contents hot.

Collection Area: Native North America

Rights Holder: Collection of Glenbow Museum

Catalogue No: AA 546

Image No: P0017159

Learn More:
This artifact can be used in conjunction with The Coast Salish: Connecting Art, Environment and Tradition education guide from the online teacher's resource series 21st Century Learning: Links to Our Collection.

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