This beautiful historic basket has polychrome red and green crosses on the inside and the outside at each of four points. The interior is quite faded from its original vivid colors, because it has been hanging on a wall (the strap is still attached to the back of the basket). The outside colors are still easily seen, especially the red; the green color has softly faded here as well.
Although the shape of the basket looks like a bowl, it is known as an Apache tray, and they may be flat, to slightly curved, to a true bowl shape. Apache trays were originally made for winnowing grain or for food usage. Trays that have design elements of three colors are the most desirable. The colors of the designs come from natural vegetal dyes and colors of the trees and grasses used. The willow shoots used in making the baskets were originally white, but through the years have oxidized from the sun to a beautiful golden color. This patination is one of the key elements that helps to date baskets. The deeper reds are most generally from yucca root.
Condition: Very good – original condition with very minimal stitch loss. The interior polychrome colors have faded, but the exterior colors of red and green are quite visible.
Provenance: Purchased from a gentleman in Arizona.
Recommended Reading: Apache Indian Baskets by Clara Lee Tanner, and Baskets of the Southwest by Terry De Wald