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Native American Early Eskimo Inupiat Indian Baleen Basket

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Native American Baskets269 of 313NATIVE AMERICAN BASKET THAT NEEDS AN ACCURATE DETERMINATION AS TO WHICH TRIBE MADE ITQuill Box made with Birch Bark and Porcupine Quills
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    Posted 9 years ago

    (134 items)

    I just got this today, it is a basket made completely of Whale Baleen, except for the bottom center which is carved from Walrus Tusk. It is about 5 inches in diameter and about 2 1/2 inches in height. Baleen basketry, made from the fibrous "strainers" in the mouth of plankton-eating whales, is a relatively recent phenomena and represents a response to tourism to Alaska that began in the first quarter of the 1900s. While there are well-documented makers of baleen baskets prior to WW II, the real growth spurt in weaving took place in the post-WW II era. Most baleen basketry weavers are associated with three primary Inupiat centers: Barrow, Point Hope, and Wainwright. This particular basket probably dates to the 1940s and uses the spaced stitch method of weaving. Baleen baskets are produced in very limited quantities each year due to the specialized skill and labor required for their creation, and because baleen is a highly restricted commodity. The baleen is obtained through limited subsistence whale hunts conducted each year. Only certain Alaskan natives are allowed to hunt Whales, and they must have certification to do so. The natives hunt for food and every part of the whale is used and only Alaskan Native people may use this material. Nothing is wasted, and the natives who can still weave these baskets do so for much needed income. I have wanted to have one for my collection for many years but due to the high prices garnered for one of these beautiful works of art I was unable to until now. I found this one online, it's lid had been very damaged and was not with the bottom, or it was lost so I was able to afford it. The center is made of ivory from Walrus Tusk, then holes are drilled around the outside of it so that the Baleen can be woven through and the basket is started. Hope you enjoy the pics.

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    1. emersonestates, 9 years ago
      Thanks a bunch for all of the great information. You know a lot of about a lot of different types of baskets. I know my father had a couple of baleen baskets with ivory animals on top for the handles. I think my sister has those but I am not sure.

      With all of the information and posts you made, I am going to start doing some research about some of the specific tribes and the styles of baskets. By the way, my name is Sean and I can't thank you enough for all of the comments and information you shared with me. I am still very new to learning about all of these baskets and antiques and you have been very helpful. I am going to try and take some more pictures of more baskets, there is still a bunch in the attic and some larger ones I have yet to take down and photograph.
    2. Tlynnie1942 Tlynnie1942, 9 years ago
      You are most welcome, Sean. And, it is very nice to meet you :)
      I love basketry, mostly Native American baskets. You have a very beautiful and very valuable (especially those Tsimshians and Tlingits) collection that every serious collector dreams of! Have fun with your research and I am sure you will have the same appreciation for them as I do when you are finished. The artistry that goes into each and every basket as well as the rituals of collecting what is needed to make them, I love it. When you are done, and if your intention is to let them out into the hands of others I would talk to someone who can appraise them properly and give you pointers. If they offer to buy them instead, get a second opinion as to value....get my meaning? Good luck!

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