Western Apache Figured Olla
Western Apache Figured Olla with gently falling shoulders and high, narrow neck. Willow and devil's claw. Design features a seven-pointed blossom or star pattern in negative on the bottom of the basket. A double line of stepped checkers creates repeating bands of coyote tracks which meet to form a lacing of diamond patterns over the whole basket. This design is interrupted below the shoulder of the basket where the lower triange of the diamond band is entirely comprised of alternating black devil's claw and willow stitches. Within the lower diamond fields are geometrics of two stacked and filled diamonds topped by a cross with negative crosses in the center of each stacked diamond. In the field above the alternating stitches are two legged animals, probably birds, and in the diamond fields above this are alternating human and bird and cross figures. Where the neck finishes, the inside line of half diamonds has been filled with black devil's claw.While there is some debate, it is thought that the Apache did not weave coiled jars, or ollas, for their own consumption, but rather made them exclusively for sale. Descriptions or accounts of ollas are not found in existing literature regarding early Apache ethnographies. It is thought that the practice of weaving ollas probably began shortly after the Western Apaches internment at San Carlos. The concept of the olla would have been known to the Apache from their small woven water jugs. The weaving of large, elaborately figured ollas like this one is known to have begun a few decades before the turn of the century. After 1900, most Apache weavers were no longer making the large ollas. Polychrome ollas using red willow also began to appear after this time.
Condition: This basket is in very good condition with only a few areas of minor stitch loss.