Pima miniature basketry cup


Pima miniature basketry cup


woven out of willow and devil's claw

2 5/16" diameter including handle x 1" high

1910 (documented)

ex: private collection



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The Pima  Indians (Akimel O'odham) resided in central and southern Arizona. Utilizing locally available willow and devil's claw, they wove beautiful baskets. The railroads went to the Southwest in the 1880s, bringing tourists and commercial opportunities. With increasing demand for their handiwork, weavers were encouraged to weave baskets of quality, as well as baskets that could easily be transported.

This basket was purchased about 1910-1911 by a man who lived in Texas. He gave it to his daughter as a gift and it has descended in her family along with documentation of its history. He most likely purchased it when the train stopped in Albuquerque.  

The Indians were fascinated with the utensils and dishware utilized by the "Anglos". Thinking that form would be most preferable to the tourists, weavers at first began to make objects in the Anglo form. They soon reverted to their traditional forms because the tourists, in fact, wanted to buy something "authentic".

Being a "tourist form" by no means diminishes the desirability of this basket. In fact, the best of the Western Indian baskets made from 1880s to the 1930s were woven with the intent to selling them. Rooted in tradition, this provided a respectable way to make a living for people who were uprooted culturally by the newcomers.

This Pima basket has 26 stitches per inch and 10 coils per inch. It is in excellent condition and is very finely and evenly woven.