(bk-0036) Old Navajo 15 Point Wedding Basket
This Old Navajo 15 Point Wedding Basket Is Very Crisp And Clear With No Fading
- The use of blue cornmeal for ceremony is very evident in the coils of this basket.
- This can be cleaned off but most collectors value the evidence of its former use
- A heavy cotton cord plug is embedded in the Sipapu center of the basket and forms a loop to hang the basket from the back
- This is a very ornate design with 15 points, or mountain elements included in the design
- These Navajo Baskets are commonly called a Wedding Basket.
- But this is a misnomer applied by Anglos.
- These baskets are used in all of the traditional Navajo ceremonies, including sandpaintings.
- They are still very much in demand and use today.
- The basket is coiled with the usual materials being yucca, sumac and mountain mahogany
- The basket reflects many Navajo life traditions and was said to have been given to the Dine people by White Shell Woman
- There are elaborate interpretations of the design elements.
- In some, the points on the basket may represent the six sacred mountains.
- The center opening represents the beginning of the world, the Sipapu, where Navajo people emerged into this world from a reed.
- The spirit of the basket is believed to live here
- The natural light color around the center represents the earth
- The black represents the sacred mountains on which can be found water bowls.
- Above these mountains are sometimes clouds of different colors. White and black clouds represent rain being made.
- A red circle next to the mountains signifies the suns rays needed for all things that grow
- Another interpretation is that the inner black steps represent the underworld while the red band represents earth and life
- The Outer Black Steps represent the upper world. Stepped black designs can represent mountains and boundaries to the Navajo land
- The white can represent the dawn, the red, rays of the sun, and black, the clouds
- Usual materials for Navajo baskets include sumac, yucca and mountain mahogany.
- The rim of the basket is always a braided rim
- The ending of the braided rim always faces the East where the pathway of the design is clear from the Sipapu opening to the Above World on the undecorated rim.
- This is so a medicine man working in a dark hogan can tell which direction the design of the basket and offerings are facing
- On many of these baskets that have been used in ceremony, one will find blue corn meal embedded
- While there are still many Navajo rug weavers on the reservation, basket making is fast disappearing.
- Most of the baskets today are made by families in the Four Corners region.
- This is because there are many taboos associated with collecting and preparing the materials as well as weaving these baskets.
- Younger people today are not willing to be bound by these taboos
- It is respectful when a basket is hung so have the opening facing the east
- The basket measures 11 5/8″ wide and is slightly dished at 2″ deep
- Native American Baskets