Specializing in Native American Crafts Since 1916

Antique Baskets

The basket is perhaps the oldest invention of Native American culture. Fragments of baskets and other weavings are found in the earliest sites of the “ancient ones”, those peoples thought to be the predecessors of today’s modern Puebloans who left their dwellings and mysterious painted symbols on stone and vanished. Originally utilitarian, Native American baskets were used for cooking, carrying, and storage, but as with all utilitarian items of the Native Americans, they were also an expression of art and Tribal identity. At the turn of the century, Native American baskets began to be woven for trade as well as for tribal ceremony. Being made of organic materials, few antique Native American baskets survive.

Today there are few practicing Native American basket weavers who retain these skills and even they will tell you that they are unable to create a basket as fine as the antique baskets of old. In the Southwest, some of the most elegant were those of the Apache and Pima woven in tray or olla shapes using native plant material for the frame and weave. The Cameron Trading Post specializes in antique Native American baskets of the Southwest such as Apache trays and Apache ollas, Pima trays, and basketry of the Tohono O’odham, Chemehuevi, Hualapai, and Havasupai of the Grand Canyon. Antique baskets are prized for their excellence as well as their colour, patina, and designs that may trace their history back to the very dawn of Native American ancestry. Browse our beautiful and genuine antique baskets online!

The History of Native American Antique Basket Weaving

The antique baskets listed here are historical pieces from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with several of them dating back as early as the 1880s through the 1970s. Our Native American antique baskets are beautiful representations of Apache, Navajo, Tohono O’odham, and Hopi artwork. The prices reflect the rare, one-of-a-kind baskets that are unique and cannot be replicated since they are historical works of art.

Native American basket weaving is an art form deeply rooted in the cultural traditions of many Indigenous peoples, each with their own distinctive styles, materials, and techniques. Among the Navajo, Apache, Tohono O’odham, and Hopi peoples, basket weaving serves not only as a practical craft but also as a profound expression of cultural identity and spiritual beliefs.

Navajo Antique Baskets

The Navajo Nation, renowned for their deep cultural heritage, have long been celebrated for their exquisite “wedding baskets.” These baskets hold profound cultural significance, often used in ceremonies to symbolize the passage of wisdom and heritage from one generation to another. The creation of these baskets is a meticulous process, where artisans weave together a beautiful tapestry of colors—red, black, and white—each derived from natural dyes sourced from local plants. The patterns are not only decorative but are imbued with cultural meanings, often telling stories of the Navajo cosmology and the natural world.

Apache Antique Baskets

The Apache tribes are also distinguished by their skill in basketry, particularly noted for their “burden baskets.” These are not merely utilitarian tools for gathering but are integral to Apache cultural rituals and daily life. Traditionally, these baskets are embellished with tin jingles or fringes, which add a distinctive sound as they move, blending function with aesthetic appeal. The designs, while beautiful, serve to connect the Apache people with their environment and ancestors, acting as a cultural expression that resonates with both practicality and spiritual significance.

Tohono O’odham Antique Baskets

The Tohono O’odham peoples of Arizona over time have refined their basket weaving skills to an art form that beautifully reflects their intimate relationship with the environment. Utilizing materials like bear grass, yucca, and devil’s claw, they craft baskets that are not only utilitarian but are also profound cultural artifacts. These baskets often feature intricate geometric patterns and detailed depictions of natural elements, each narrating stories of harvests, rains, and communal celebrations. The Tohono O’odham baskets are highly valued for their aesthetic beauty and deep cultural significance, celebrated both within the community and by collectors worldwide.

Hopi Antique Baskets

The Hopi, on the other hand, specialized in plaques and coiled baskets, incorporating symbolic motifs and colors that represent their cultural beliefs and history. These baskets are often used in religious ceremonies and as part of the Hopi’s everyday life. Each piece embodies the spiritual connection between the weaver, their community, and the environment.

Through their basket weaving, these Southwestern Native American communities maintain a vital link to their heritage, demonstrating resilience and creativity in the face of changing times. The art of basket weaving among the Navajo, Apache, Tohono O’odham, and Hopi not only highlights their skilled craftsmanship but also serves as a vibrant testament to their enduring cultural traditions.

Trading Native American Antique Baskets Since 1916!

If you’re looking for a rare and exquisite Native American antique basket, look no further than Cameron Trading Post! Whether it’s to honor a relative, give as a birthday, wedding, or anniversary gift, or add as a piece to your collection, our genuine antique Native American antique baskets are one of the best choices from our historic trading post! We have proudly served our customers since we first opened in 1916. If you have any questions about our antique baskets, please give us a call or contact us online today.

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