University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

The papoose
Vol. I. No. 2. (January, 1903)

Indian decorations in the home,   pp. 10-12


Page 12

moccasins, head-dresses, masks, pictures, spears, bows and
arrows, drums, prayer-sticks, boomerangs, katchina dolls,
fetishes, and beadwork might be displayed with artistic and
pleasing effect.
Without attempting to make a large collection, a dozen
or a score of well-selected baskets could be so artistically
arranged as to give a very pleasing effect to any room where
they were displayed.
A careful study of the various weaves found in North
American basketry reveals wonderful ingenuity, taste, and
skill. The Pomas alone have nine distinct weaves now in
use and five that are obsolete, all of which have appro-
priate names; and there are perhaps twice as many other
weaves in use by different peoples. To see the various
methods by which the stitches are made -how colored splints
are introduced; how strengthening ribs are placed; how the
bottle-neck baskets are narrowed and again widened; the
various ingenious methods of finishing off the basket-all
these afford subjects for interesting study.
In the finishing of the baskets the Hopi basket weaver
is required by inexorable custom to symbolize her own
physical state. There are three styles of finish, known re-
spectively as " the flowing gate," "the open gate," and "the
closed gate."
In some baskets the whole history of a nation is sym-
bolized, and to an intelligent sympathy expressed towards
the weaver and her ideas, I owe the gleaning of much myth-
ological, traditional, and historical lore that had hitherto en-
tirely escaped ethnologists and others interested in the history
of the Indians.
Colors, also, to the Indian are often significant of relig-
ious interpretation, and to learn the methods for producing
splints of pleasing color followed by the Indian woman, is to
have a revelation of patience, industry, skill, and invention.
Indian baskets can be made to contribute to the intel-
lectual pleasures of any ladies' club or social gathering.
Let a loan collection be made of as many baskets as can be
found. Then let some intelligent and interested member
of the club prepare a paper or deliver an extempore talk
covering the following points : the geographical home of
the tribe of the maker of the basket under consideration ;
the weaver's own home ; the material used in making the
basket ; how the colors are made, and the significance of
the design, whether imaginative, ideographic, or symbolic.
Such a talk could be followed by a general discussion and
exchange of ideas that would prove to be profitable and
instructive to the whole company."


Go up to Top of Page