Posted 4 years ago
This is my Navaho wedding basket, probably made around the 1930's or so. It is about 15 inches in diameter. The side that shows is faded, due to it's age. These baskets are made with Sumac and then dyed with natural colors. Navajo baskets are usually made with a two-rod-and-bundle-coiled technique. The rim is always characterized by a "false braid" or "herringbone" finish, and the center start may consist of a knot. "Some Navajo basketry starts however, may consist of a round coiled self-start instead of a knot. Some older baskets held a bit of cloth in the center that held cornmeal, and held meaning to the new bride and groom. All of these traits are found in ancient Pueblo basketry. Many Navaho baskets like this are actually made by the Ute tribe and then sold to the Navaho who then sell to tourists.
"The traditional Navajo basket design with the red, white, and black colors. The black design symbolizes the darkness (night) and clouds that bring the rain. The white part inside the black design represents the sacred mountains. Usually, there are four or six points in this part to designate the sacred mountains. The outside white area represents the dawn and is tied together with the outside rim which represents a person's thoughts, prayers, and values. The red part within the black design represents the life giving rays of the sun" (Ben Gorman, Navajo artist).