Glenbow Museum - Where the World Meets the West

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Title: Basket

Date: early 20th century

Additional Creator Information: Tsilhqot'in

Medium: cedar root, spruce root, cherry bark, willow, bulrush, hide

The Tsilhqot'in, a Dene-speaking people who live in the centre of British Columbia, created this distinct style of coiled root basket. These are burden baskets that women would have carried on a daily basis. Even though they are utilitarian, women took the time to create these elaborate designs, to make the baskets both practical and beautiful. The design was made using imbrication - a decorative technique where bark is pleated around the outside edge of each coiled stitch.

I think the design on this basket shows a real connection to the land and the environment in the region where these people live. There are three bands of design. Along the bottom, elk or caribou are shown using dark red cherry bark. A checkerboard band occupies the middle. A plant-like design is at the top. A pale root is used to reinforce and draw attention to the upper edge. We often don't appreciate the skill that went into creating baskets. It took a great deal of time and attention to collect the roots and bulrush and prepare them properly.

-Beth Carter

Collection Area: Native North America

Rights Holder: Collection of Glenbow Museum

Catalogue No: AD 42

Image No: P0012186

Learn More:
This artifact can be used in conjunction with Honouring Tradition: Reframing Native Art education guide from the online teacher's resource series 21st Century Learning: Links to Our Collection.


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