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Baskets from California Cultures

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  • Baskets from California Cultures

    Pomo Indian Baskets -and- their Makers

    The publication “Pomo Indian Baskets and their Makers” can be downloaded here:

    This 44 page publication was authored by Carl Purdy and published in 1902 by Out West Company Press and is provided by the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics hosted by the University of Arizona.

    The Pomo people are indigenous to California with historic territory in northern California, bordered by the Pacific Coast to the west, extending inland to Clear Lake, and laying mainly between Cleone and Duncans Point.

    [compiled by painshill]
    Last edited by painshill; 01-31-2016, 11:40 AM.
    Look to the ground for it holds the past!

  • #2

    You can download a pdf of “Basketry designs of the Indians of northern California” here (note that it’s a 40MB download):

    Note also that the index at the beginning relates to the full bulletin of the AMNH, volume 17 by Roland B Dixon from the Huntington California Expedition of 1899-1904 from which this section on basket design is taken. The illustrations are also in black and white.

    The index portion relating to baskets covers:

    Designs of the Northeastern Area

    1. Animal Designs
    2. Plant Designs
    3. Designs representing Natural or Artificial Objects

    Pit River
    1. Animal and Plant Designs .
    2. Designs representing Natural or Artificial Objects

    1. Animal Designs
    2. Designs representing Natural Objects

    Designs of the Southeastern Area

    Designs of the Pomo Group
    Last edited by painshill; 01-31-2016, 11:41 AM.
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.


    • #3
      Frank D. Norvall's Baskets

      Click image for larger version

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      Figure 1: The gift basket left in Norvall's cabin by the Yahi in October of 1885 because he had treated them kindly.

      Locating Ishi's oldest known arrow was certainly the highlight of my trip, but the excitement surrounding it inadvertently led to my failure to recognize what I now believe to be an equally important find. Before discussing it, however, we will have to address two other incidents that took place in 1885 - the first in April, and the second in October. These accounts are taken from The Yana Indians by T.T. Waterman (1918:59):

      April, 1885 – Mr. Norvall one day approaches a cabin on Dry Creek. Hearing noises inside, he goes around in back. Four Indians were jumping out of the window. Seeing him, they all got in a row, and stood waiting for developments. A young woman is wearing three old jumpers, with the addition of little else. An old man has an old overcoat and an old rifle barrel. There are two young fellows, one of them with a crippled foot. "Rafe Johnson did that," remarks Mr. Norvall. The woman points over toward Mill Creek and says "Dos chiquitos papooses" (Spanish jargon, meaning two small children). Inside the cabin they had piled up a lot of discarded clothing, evidently preparing to carry it away. Mr. Norvall treats them in a friendly way. (Information from Mr. Norvall, 1915).

      October, 1885 – The Indians slip into Norvalls cabin while he is away, and leave two baskets. (These baskets are now in the University Museum (for one of them see plate 15). This is probably a result of Norvall's friendly bearing in the previous episode. (Information from Mr. Norvall.)

      This is a very touching story, and one that exhibits a quintessential aspect of human nature, that when even adversaries are treated decently, they will frequently respond in kind.

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      Fig 2: The second Yahi gift basket?

      In any event, Waterman was mistaken when he claimed that these baskets were part of the University Museum collection. Until recently, both were actually presumed to have been lost, but as it turns out, the one pictured in The Yana Indians was acquired by Lyon from Norvall (Fig. 13), and is also currently on display at the Kelly-Griggs House Museum where it was recently "rediscovered" and brought to the public's attention by writer and Ishi historian, Richard Burrill (Burrill 2001:31).

      As regards the second basket, however, literally nothing was known. It had disappeared without ever being photographed or even accurately described.

      Fortunately, after examining and photographing the Lyon arrow, I asked if there were any other artifacts that her grandfather had collected. In response, she produced some strands of beads and a very plain and not particularly impressive coiled basket (Fig. 14).

      I dutifully photographed the basket for the record, but am embarrassed to admit that I failed completely to recognize its possible significance at that time. In fact, it wasn't until several days later that it dawned on me that this was very likely Norvall's missing Yahi basket! While it cannot be proven as such, the only artifacts that Lyon was known to have collected were those related to Ishi, and it also seems likely that when he acquired the one basket from Norvall, he would have gotten the second one as well.

      Unattributed article duplicated from the “Resources” section of and reproduced with permission.
      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.