19th Century Washington Coastal Woven Bag
This is a rare trapezoid shaped woven basketry storage bag, which was woven along the Oregon and Washington Coast from the area around the mouth of the Columbia River to as far north as the Quinault. The bulk of the bag is woven from a very stiff material with a cattail braided edge on the sides to bind the two faces together. It has three vertical outlined panels on one side, with somewhat irregularly crisscrossed greenish wool embroidered lines within these panels. The reverse side has four vertical groups of alternating thin single strand wool sideways "V's". The side with the three panels originally had black wool woven vertical bands outlining the panels and red narrow single strand wool lines crisscrossing the area within the panels and intersecting the greenish wool lines. Unfortunately, moths have eaten both the black and red wool leaving the occasional remnant of these. Other than the loss of the red and black wool, the bag is in unusually fine condition.
I believe that this bag was collected from the Quinault, as it was part of a very small collection of late 19th century baskets, primarily Quinault spruce root baskets. Myrol Eells in his notebooks mentions that the Quinault made large storage bags which were used for storing cloth and other similar items. In the past 40 years, I have had two other bags like this, one in excellent condition collected at the mouth of the Columbia River around 1900 and a second one with serious condition problems. If you are a collector of Washington coastal basketry and culture, you should seriously look at this basket. It is a great example of these large coastal bags and is in great condition, outside of the wool loss in the design.
L. 19" : W. 23 ½"