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Grass Roots: Native American Basketry of the West

September 15th, 2016 – June 18th, 2018
Palm Springs Art Museum, Denney Western American Art Wing
 
For centuries Native Americans have cultivated and harvested various native plants and roots, from the arid deserts of the Southwest to the wooded forests of the Northwest, weaving them into magnificent baskets.
 

Chemehuevi, Hat, 1860-1869, willow and devil's claw on a three rod willow foundation. Collection of Palm Springs Art Museum (A252-1974).Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Guadalupe Arenas, Cahuilla, Santa Rosa Reservation, 1880-1958, Rattlesnake Basket with Eagle. ca. 1910, natural and dyed juncus and sumac on a deer grass foundation, Gift of J. Smeaton Chase, (A91-1974).Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Paiute, Water or Storage Jar. ca. 1900, natural and dyed juncus and twine, Gift of Winifred Little from the F. A. Little Collection (A13 1972.118). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Karuk (Karok), Woman's Ceremonial Cap, 1910-1920, conifer root, maidenhair fern stems, dyed and natural bear grass on a hazel foundation, gift of Nellie Coffman. Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Klamath (Máklaks), Bowl. ca. 1910, dyed and natural tule and dyed reed on a tule foundation. Gift of Edwin D. Walker (A263-1974). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Cahuilla; Soboba, Rectangular Basket with Handle. ca. 1910, palm fiber and natural and dyed juncus on a palm fiber foundation, Museum purchase, (A9-1984). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Lupe Alberras (Cahuilla, active 1900–25), Rain and Sun Eagle Basket, ca. 1910, Sumac, natural and dyed juncus, on a deer-grass-bundle foundation, Gift of Cornelia B. White from the Marjorie Rose Dougan Collection (A95-1974). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Lupe Alberras (Alberas or Alveras), Cahuilla, Santa Rosa Reservation, active first quarter 20th century, Rattlesnake Basket. 1901-1925, sumac, natural and dyed juncus on a deer grass bundle foundation, Gift of Cornelia B. White from the Marjorie Rose Dougan Collection (A96-1974).
Hopi Third Mesa, Yungyapy (Butterfly Wicker Plaque), ca. 1920, yucca leaf, rabbit brush, sumac, aniline dyes, Gift of Winifred Little from the F. A. Little Collection (A13 1972.50). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Paiute, Beaded Basket. 1920-1930, willow and glass beads on single-rod willow foundation, Collection of Palm Springs Art Museum (A154-1974). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Paiute, Pictorial Beaded Basket, 1920-1930, willow and glass seed beads on a single-rod willow foundation, Gift of Edwin D. Walker (A600-1974). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Betty Rogers, Paiute, active late 20th Century, Miniature Beaded Basket. 1975-1999, horse hair bundles with horse hair stitching and glass beads, Gift of the Estate of Melvin V. Snoddy (A2-2002.28). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
Betty Rogers, Paiute, active late 20th Century, Lidded Basket with Mouse Finial. 1975-1999, horse hair bundles with horse hair stitching and glass beads, Gift of the Estate of Melvin V. Snoddy, (A2-2002.36 a-b). Photography by Jamison Pollock.
 

For centuries Native Americans have cultivated and harvested various native plants and roots, from the arid deserts of the Southwest to the wooded forests of the Northwest, weaving them into magnificent baskets. The complex mastering of the art of basket weaving was primarily the responsibility of women. In addition to great technical skill and artistic vision, it required weavers to develop an intimate knowledge of their environment, botanical expertise, and an understanding of cultural traditions. Historically baskets pervaded every aspect of Native life from collecting and processing food to supporting sacred practices and community events. Although born of necessity, basketry of the West embodies diverse and distinct cultural and aesthetic qualities well beyond their functional purposes.

This exhibition presents the elegance and simplicity of centuries-old utilitarian forms alongside the eye-dazzling intricate designs created by master weavers of the early twentieth century. This installation of over 150 baskets from the museum’s permanent collection connects the viewer with the immense aesthetic and diverse cultural heritage that is unique to Native American basketry of the West.

This exhibition is funded by Mary Cone.

Lupe Alberras (Alberas or Alveras), Cahuilla, Santa Rosa Reservation, active first quarter 20th century, Rattlesnake Basket. 1901-1925, sumac, natural and dyed juncus on a deer grass bundle foundation, Gift of Cornelia B. White from the Marjorie Rose Dougan Collection (A96-1974)

 Lupe Alberras (Alberas or Alveras), Cahuilla, Santa Rosa Reservation, active first quarter 20th century, Rattlesnake Basket. 1901-1925, sumac, natural and dyed juncus on a deer grass bundle foundation, Gift of Cornelia B. White from the Marjorie Rose Dougan Collection (A96-1974)