Antique Navajo Wedding Basket

Antique Navajo Wedding Basket

This fine, old Navajo basket from Arizona is made in the traditional two rod and bundle technique using yucca and sumac fiber.

These baskets were used in traditional wedding ceremonies as well as healing ceremonies. The sacred corn meal and pollen of many ceremonies and rituals is ingrained into the fibers of the basket. Due to its age and use, this circa 1920 basket’s coloration is not sharply distinct. It measures 10.5" across and approximately 3"deep. The dyed sumac forms a pattern of two black serrated circles, enclosing three rows of russet colored fibers.

The shipapu or design break outlined in black is still faintly evident. This is symbolic of the path or means of communication with the world of the ancestor spirits and must always point east during ceremonies. The shipapu is adjacent to the final stitches of the rim finish and creates a slight bump to help establish the direction of the shipapu, so ritual observances can be safely followed even in the dark. The original leather hand strap is still attached. An old break along the rim is richly patinated from use. Additional photos can be requested.

This is a beautiful traditional object to be treasured.