Posted 2 years ago
I just got this one the other day. It is a very old and really well made basket, made of braided Sweet Grass, Ash and bentwood circa 1880-1900. Sweet Grass was braided and then woven around the Ash splints (except for the very bottom) and larger braids were used to form loops around the rim and to make handles for the sides of the basket. A large braid was also used to make a bow finial for the lid. There is no damage at all anywhere on this basket, the collector who had this basket before I bought it took really great care of it. I do not know for sure which Native American tribe made this, but I am pretty sure it was one which resided in Maine.
It is 6.5"in diameter at the middle, bottom diameter is 5", opening is 4". It stands 5" high to top of loops above the rim with the "bow" handle adding an additional 1/2" to the height - 5.5" overall height. The inner rim is carved bentwood - indicating an earlier basket... After 1910 or so the artist who made this small basket would not have carved a bentwood rim for this, rather an ash splint would serve as the rim . Not all baskets made before 1900 had bentwood used for the rim of a basket either, it was something that the artist themselves would have made the choice to use as an "extra" to make the basket more valuable and sturdy. The color of the foundation ash splints is a marine blue, a color favored c/1880-1910, and it can still be seen on the bottom and inside the basket and a little in between the braids on the outside of the basket.
At the time that this basket was made, Sweet Grass baskets commanded a higher price than those made just of Ash and this one would have gotten a very high price. The work that had to be done to gather, dry, comb and braid the Sweet Grass even before starting to make the basket itself was recognized by the people who collected them. I am very happy to have been able to add this beautiful basket to my collection. Enjoy the pics :)