Daily Art Moment: Cowlitz artist

Image description: Basket, Cowlitz artist, cedar root, beargrass and dyed beargrass, 7 ¾ x 10 x 9 ¼ inches. 1. A round woven basket featuring a chevron pattern rendered in three tones of materials: light beige, medium brown, and dark brown. The basket has a wide mouth and gently narrows to a small base. It is tightly woven using the medium brown tone as a background on which the light beige and dark brown are used to create pattern. The dark brown and pale beige combine to repeat a double chevron pattern around the basket in an upper and lower row. At the center of each chevron at the top is a small, inverted triangle shape.

Plateau basketry traditions encompass several techniques including coiling which we see with this delightful Cowlitz basket. The vibrant design of this sturdy and well-balanced basket is a wonderful example of the decorative use of imbrication. This process transformed a basket of plain appearance (as seen on the inside) with the addition of different colors of bear grass woven onto the outside of the coils. On close inspection, the geometric patterns break down like pixels in a digital image, resembling teeth or kernels of corn.

Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art

Detail of the base of the basket. Oval shaped base in light beige and medium brown. The lighter color material creates two “dotted” oval around the center. Slight wear is evident at the center and pale reddish staining is seen on its upper edge.

Cowlitz artist, Basket, ca. 1900/1920. Cedar root, beargrass, and dyed beargrass. The Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection, 2009.9.24

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