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Navajo Deep Traditional Ceremonial Design Bowl

C4091D-basket.jpg

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  • Category: Bowls and Other Forms
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: sumac, yucca
  • Size: 5” deep x 13-¾” diameter
  • Item # C4091D
  • Price: $2,400.00

Close up view of this basket.

When one thinks of a Navajo ceremonial basket, what comes to mind is a shallow bowl of a defined design that is used by a medicine man in a hogan ceremonial event.  Usually, such a basket is about 3 inches deep and 12 inches diameter. It has a strip of red around the middle of the wall. The red is sandwiched between black stepped triangles on the top and bottom.  The rim is finished in a herringbone weave and ends at the point of the ceremonial line break through the design.

Other Navajo ceremonial baskets that feature the same design as the one required by a medicine man for wedding or healing ceremonies differ in size and somewhat modified in design.  This bowl is a good example of a pseudo-ceremonial basket—larger in size, deeper than usual, and a design that invokes a ceremonial basket but modified slightly. Such baskets are traditional and are used by medicine men too.  They are needed by a medicine man to hold sacred corn meal, prayer feathers, medicines, stirring rods, flints, claws, colored earth, and other things as part of his ceremonial bundle. They are necessary 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.  

This basket might qualify for one of the other uses.  It is deep and large and had a modified ceremonial basket design in that the standard black stepped triangles have been simplified to black lines.  


Condition: this Navajo Deep Traditional Ceremonial Design Bowl is in good condition with some apparent repairs to the rim stitching.

Provenance: from the personal collection of Santa Fe dealer and collector Marti Struever, purchased by Marti in 2006 for display in her private living room.

Reference: Southwestern Indian Baskets - Their History and Their Makers by Andrew Hunter Whiteford, School of American Research Press, Santa Fe. 1988.

Close up view of this basket.
  • Category: Bowls and Other Forms
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: sumac, yucca
  • Size: 5” deep x 13-¾” diameter
  • Item # C4091D
  • Price: $2,400.00

C4091D-basket.jpgC4091D-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.