made for Native use
14 1/2” d x 18” high
This Western Apache olla is beautifully formed and woven with a rhythmic geometric vertical lightening design. It is coiled out of willow and devil's claw and has old saddle leather handles. Apache ollas with leather handles were made for native use and are fairly rare.
After the Apache were put on Reservation, they settled down into a less nomadic tradition. The coming of the railroad provided a way for the women to continue weaving, as per their tradition, while at the same time it helped them generate an income to support their families. Pots and pans were now available for use but the baskets, most especially the 3-rod coiled "fancy" baskets, were very collectible.
The olla form was not used by the Apaches until the 19th century. Information is scarce about why they began to weave ollas but we know that Anglo visitors really liked the form. Presumably some Apache women used the ollas for grain storage and handles helped them carry the basket. Anglos, on the other hand, collected the baskets as tourist items.