Test Home

Western Apache Figural Basket Tray


Item Number: DR 437
Tribal Affiliation: Western Apache
Artist: Unknown
Medium: Willow and Devil’s Claw seed pods
Age: circa 1900
Dimensions: 3 ½” X 18”


SKU: DR 437 Categories: , ,


Guardians of the Camp – Figural tray with coyotes and teepees.

Apache trays were originally made for winnowing grain or for food usage. They were woven on a three rod foundation, which makes the baskets very tight, stiff and sturdy. They do not bend, or yield under pressure. 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 darker more mellow the color, the older the basket.

The Devil’s Claw seed pod or Martynia provide the beautiful black/dark brown color that is used in design elements. This dark, almost black color is creates what is known as a negative design. The darker areas usually begin with a dark center, representing the sacred circle and move outward with additional designs elements. The dark center of this basket moves outward with the triangles, which represent the teepees of the tribe. The animal figures are the coyotes on the perimeter of the camp. This basket reflects the Apache philosophy of guarding the encampment and protecting the tribe. It is a very spiritual basket.

Condition: Excellent – original condition with minimal stitch loss. This beautiful tray is a very tightly woven basket by a master basket maker.
Provenance: Purchased from private collector in Arizona.
Recommended Reading: Apache Indian Baskets by Clara Lee Tanner, and Baskets of the Southwest by Clara Lee Tanner


Additional information

Weight 30 oz