|Native American Indian Baskets
The Native American basket, once a functional and/or ceremonial container, has evolved into a highly stylized art. Depending on the tribe/location, a basket may be made of grass, bark, root, or even wood. Though it takes a bit of practice, it should not be very long before you are able to identify a Hopi basket, Navajo basket, Inuit basket, and/or California basket.
The basket materials of the basket are typical of the plants surrounding the Native Americans. this may be your first hint. Is it a grass, a root, or a bark? How was it constructed? It could be a bundle of grass wrapped and 'coiled' around and around. Or, it could be woven, with each strand woven over and under other strands.
Additionally, there are design cues. The Navajo wedding basket is probably the basket that is most associated with Native American basketry. The Hopi baskets, with their colorful pictorials and/or kachina masks are likewise recognizable. California tribes' basketry is also highly sought after. The subtle patterns woven tightly and evenly. And of course, the Apache pictographs.
Though Eastern, Plains, and Pacific Northwest tribes all created baskets, this website focuses more so on the West and Southwest tribes.
Basketry probably evolved from a purely functional and ceremonial vessel into something much more. Though other vessels (mainly pottery) existed, baskets woven from plants were lighter, stronger, and could be easily crafted.
Today, Navajo baskets from the Black family is an example of a highly stylized art form. Today's basket weavers, though few in number, are some of the most technical and creative. There are also some great examples of Native American Baskets on Ebay.
Here are some other Native American Art Websites:
American Indian Baskets