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Traditional Navajo - Diné Ceremonial Wedding Basket by Fannie Slim [SOLD]

C4006A-basket.jpg

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Artist Unknown
  • Category: Trays and Plaques
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Sumac
  • Size: 13-5/8” diameter x 2-1/2” deep
  • Item # C4006A
  • SOLD

Alternate side view.

Navajo baskets or Ts’aa’ have a number of uses. They are used ceremonially to hold prayer sticks and medicine bundles, because it is taboo for ritual objects to touch the ground. They are important for Kinaalda’ ceremonies, the coming of age ceremony for young women at puberty, where they are used to hold yucca suds for ritual baths and hair washing of the young woman. They are used in wedding ceremonies to hold corn pollen and food.

Often, when not in use, owners take the baskets to the local trading post or nearby merchant and either pawn them for cash or sell them outright.  When needed for another occasion, the person will either retrieve hers from pawn or purchase another one.  This basket has a tag attached as follows:

Navajo-Piaute (sic) wedding basket No. 15 Fannie Slim 1946 - a Navajo – used in many ceremonies

It is not normally known of such old baskets who the maker was or who the owner was and the date it was probably made.  This tag provides such important and desirable information.

The designs in these baskets have significance and depending on the interpretation can symbolize the creation myth, life’s journeys or be a map of the Navajo cosmos. The simplest interpretation is that the white center is the emergence area, or area of birth. The black coils represent clouds or four sacred mountains. The red band is the sun’s rays which bring life.  There is always a line from the center of the basket to the outer rim, a path from the center for the Spirit to come and go. The pathway meets at the outer edge where the weaver has stopped coiling.

When there is a piece of fabric stuffed in the hole in the beginning of a Navajo basket, that is an indication that the basket was used in a ceremony where sacred corn meal or soap suds was in the basket.  The fabric presents the contents from falling through the hole.

This basket, with the maker’s/owner’s name, a date that it was made or pawned, and a fabric stuffed in the bottom is a collector’s treasure.  It is rare to have such information on a basket like this.


Condition: this Traditional Navajo - Diné Ceremonial Wedding Basket by Fannie Slim is in good condition with some loss of stitches on underside

Provenance: from the collection of a client from Colorado Springs, Colorado

Recommended Reading:  Navajo Ceremonial Baskets: Sacred Symbols, Sacred Space by Georgiana Kennedy Simpson

Close up view of this basket. When there is a piece of fabric stuffed in the hole in the beginning of a Navajo basket, that is an indication that the basket was used in a ceremony where sacred corn meal or soap suds was in the basket.  The fabric presents the contents from falling through the hole.

Artist Unknown
  • Category: Trays and Plaques
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Sumac
  • Size: 13-5/8” diameter x 2-1/2” deep
  • Item # C4006A
  • SOLD

C4006A-basket.jpgC4006A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.