We are all captivated by butterflies in nature. This Hopi plaque from third mesa captures their beauty on this geometric butterfly plaque. This plaque exhibits a very tight weave and multiple colors. The fibers are made from scrub sumac and the coils from yucca and galleta grass. As is very typical of an older basket, it is faded on one side.
Plaques, such as this one, are woven primarily for social obligations, such as payment for favors, prizes in footraces, or even as payment for a bride’s robes. They are still used as part of the paraphernalia in women’s dances. Creating these lovely plaques is very labor intensive, requiring many hours of searching and gathering the raw materials; culling and cleaning them in preparation for weaving; and several more hours of dying the fibers to create the design. Then the work of weaving the materials together begins, resulting in beautiful plaques.
Condition: Excellent for its age – original condition with fading on one side.
Provenance: Purchased from a collector from New Mexico.
Recommended Reading: Indian Baskets of the Southwest by Clara Lee Tanner.