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Daily Art Moment: Cowlitz artist

Plateau basketry traditions encompass several techniques including coiling which we see with this delightful Cowlitz basket. The vibrant design of this sturdy and well-balanced basket is a wonderful example of the decorative use of imbrication. This process transformed a basket of plain appearance (as seen on the inside) with the addition of different colors of bear grass woven onto the outside of the coils. On close inspection, the geometric patterns break down like pixels in a digital image, resembling teeth or kernels of corn.

Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art

Detail of the base of the basket. Oval shaped base in light beige and medium brown. The lighter color material creates two “dotted” oval around the center. Slight wear is evident at the center and pale reddish staining is seen on its upper edge.

Cowlitz artist, Basket, ca. 1900/1920. Cedar root, beargrass, and dyed beargrass. The Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection, 2009.9.24