This polychrome Hopi plaque depicts an eagle, which is a very significant symbol for the Hopi. Coiled baskets are made at Second Mesa villages–Shungopovi, Shipaulovi and Mishongnovi. They are made from native vegetal fibers, such as yucca with gelatta grass, and vegetal dyes for accents and colors. Hopi coiled baskets are woven by wrapping bundles of plant material with a single piece of split yucca. This plaque is woven with 15-16 stitches per inch with 2 coils per inch (1/2” per coil). The sewing together of the coils always moves in a counter clockwise direction, and all of the stiches are non- interlocking. The design of eagle flows to the outer edges. The colors of this plaque are the natural yucca, black and yellow for the eyes, beak and talons. A loop to hang the plaque was woven into the top edge band by the weaver.
The Hopi people are internationally acclaimed artists and Second Mesa is well known for its coiled basketry plaques. The baskets and plaques made by Hopi women help to preserve women’s roles in their society. . Plaques are presented to newborn babies, young mothers, men as a wedding gift, as paybacks for gifts or favors, and in kiva ceremonies. Making baskets to sell to tourists is a secondary purpose.
Condition: Excellent – Original condition
Provenance: Acquired from a gentleman in Arizona.
Suggested Reading: Indian Baskets of the Southwest by Terry DeWald