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Chemehuevi Jar with Net Design

C3924X-basket.jpg

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  • Category: Ollas or Jars
  • Origin: Chemehuevi
  • Medium: willow, devil’s claw
  • Size: 5-1/4” deep x 8-1/4” diameter
  • Item # C3924X
  • Price: $3,700.00

This beautifully shaped olla is a classic example of Chemehuevi excellence in weave, form and design. The basket is in mint condition like the day it was woven, the almost white color is the result of its being kept in containers and glass cases for most of its existence.

The Chemehuevi is a small tribe whose traditional territory was the Mohave Desert of Southern California. Because of their small population, they produced fewer baskets than many other tribes but the quality was exceptional, displaying beautifully controlled weaves along with elegant forms and simple yet aesthetically pleasing designs. The Chemehuevi weaver took great care in processing her materials before weaving so the materials themselves tend to be even and fine.

The basket coiling is to the right, using three peeled willow rods (Salix) for the foundation of the coil. The sewing splints are split peeled willow for the white and split devil’s claw for the black. The design is called the “net design” because of its similarity to a fishing net.

Unknown Marking on the bottom of this basket.

John Kania at the Kania Ferrin Gallery (which used to be on Canyon Road) did some extensive research on this collection and he had a wonderful article some time ago in American Indian Art Magazine (the one that is no longer published by Mary Hamilton after 40 years)*.  Here is the information he found concerning the lettering and numbers on the bottom, starting with LH:

"The LH shows it was originally part of the Francis Xavier Ammann collection amassed primarily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His collection of exclusively Chemehuevi baskets number more than 2000 pieces representing the largest grouping of this tribe's baskets ever assembled. In 1928 the collection went on loan to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum which inventoried each of the baskets with a "L" (for loan) number. When the collection was withdrawn in 1934 the museum was only able to retain 39 pieces - a gift from the Amman family.  The collection was then broken up and sold."

Thanks to Carole and Frank Ehrhardt for sharing this information!

*Ammann, Francis Xavier “Bread for Baskets: The Ammann Collection of Chemehuevi Baskets” by John Kania. 33(1):42–51 (may be available from the publisher).

 

Condition: excellent condition with only one missing stitch at the rim.

Provenance: a tape affixed to the basket states it was from the Brown collection, but nothing more definitive is provided.

Recommended Reading: Native American Basketry of Southern California, Riverside Museum Press, 1993

Close up view of side panel NET design of this basket.

  • Category: Ollas or Jars
  • Origin: Chemehuevi
  • Medium: willow, devil’s claw
  • Size: 5-1/4” deep x 8-1/4” diameter
  • Item # C3924X
  • Price: $3,700.00

C3924X-basket.jpgC3924X-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.