Antique Pima or Papago Native Pictorial Basket with Figures and Elk

Regular price $700.00

This wonderful late 19th or very early 20th century basket I purchased from the estate of Elaine Bradbury Vercoe, a descendant (the great granddaughter, I believe) of Colorado pioneer William Chase Bradbury (1849-1925). Held in her estate were both thousands of original antique photographs taken by Bradbury on expeditions around the Western U.S during the late 19th and early 20th century, many featuring Native Americans (as well as cowboys), along with a collection of Native  pieces he had collected during the same period, including baskets, arrowheads, beaded pieces and textiles. (Interestingly, Bradbury was also an avid collector of bird eggs; he was made Honorary Curator of the Department of Oology at the Colorado Museum of Natural History, to which he donated his extensive collection.)

Native to central and southern Arizona, the Pima (now called Akimel Oʼodham, "River People") and Papago (Tohono O'Odham) are renowned for coiled baskets like this one, made of grasses including devils claw and bear grass.  This exceptional example features a roughly alternating series figures and elk or deer on both exterior and interior--typically with the animals on the lower half of the basket and the figures (with one arm raised and appearing to sport antlers) above them. However, once on the exterior and once on the interior appears a larger figure on the lower half, with both arms down, especially prominent antlers, and phallus. 

This basket measures 4 1/2" tall with a diameter ranging from 7 1/2" to 8 1/8" across due to some irregularity of the shape. The base measures 5 3/4" across. It appears to be in excellent condition, with no missing stitches that I can see . There is one tiny spot on the surface of one loop on the rim--very minor, and documented in detailed photo. Truly a stunning, one of a kind piece.