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Girl's Coiled Dowry or Puberty Basket (kol-chu or ti-ri-bu-ku)

Arts of the Americas

This coiled Pomo basket displays symmetrical geometric designs and feather and shell-bead embellishments. Between 1890 and 1920, basket collecting by enthusiasts, dealers, and scientists had reached its height, and Pomo examples were the most coveted because of their fine weave and dazzling patterns.

Modeled on a traditional form, this basket was made for sale at time of extreme economic hardship for Native people in California.
MEDIUM Willow, sedge root, bulrush root, black quail topknots, red woodpecker crest feathers, Olivella shell beads, cotton string
DATES late 19th century
DIMENSIONS 7 × 14 1/2 × 14 1/2 in. (17.8 × 36.8 × 36.8 cm) mount (deck): 7 × 14 1/2 × 14 1/2 in. (17.8 × 36.8 × 36.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1907, Museum Collection Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Conical shaped basket with a stepped flag design in brown on natural fiber colored background. The shells and feathers are fastened to the exterior and extend out from basket. Although called a puberty basket it is thought that this basket was not necessarily used for puberty ceremonial. At the time it was collected it was thought that ceremony no longer was being practiced so such baskets were no longer being made for traditional practice. While it may have been intended for such, there is no physical evidence that it was ever used to hold water, and it is more likely that it was made for sale, an aestheticized version of a traditional form.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Jenny Hughes (Pomo). Girl's Coiled Dowry or Puberty Basket (kol-chu or ti-ri-bu-ku), late 19th century. Willow, sedge root, bulrush root, black quail topknots, red woodpecker crest feathers, Olivella shell beads, cotton string, 7 × 14 1/2 × 14 1/2 in. (17.8 × 36.8 × 36.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1907, Museum Collection Fund, 07.467.8308. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 07.467.8308_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 07.467.8308_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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