Basket Weaving: Old Tradition to New Art Form

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Basket Weaving: Old Tradition to New Art Form

Basket weaving is a form of artwork that is common among the Native Americans in the Southwestern United States. At the same time, it may possibly be the oldest textile art known to mankind. Therefore, the baskets we see today are a development of an art handed down through the generations. Throughout time, one thing has remained constant: women have traditionally been the basket weavers in Native American tribes. Women basket weavers, therefore, have developed their skill over the thousands of years from making useful household products during prehistoric times, to the present, where their work is sold on a commercial market to Native American collectors.

Women of the tribe were the weavers from the start for practical reasons. Traditionally, the tribal women were in charge of domestic affairs. They therefore became in charge of basket making because it was their form of storage for household goods. This invention was their solution to the need to have unbreakable containers for their constantly moving lifestyle. The tribes roamed and needed containers that would be easy to carry, useful in storage, and that would not break. Basket weaving became the perfect solution. Baskets do not break, as pottery can, so they are easy to travel with. It was not until tribes began to remain stable that pottery came about since there was not the need for unbreakable containers and dishes (Underhill 20). The variety of shape and size meant that baskets could be used for almost any household task. For instance, baskets can be made three feet tall to hold grains, or they can be made only inches tall to store personal belongings. Some other utilitarian uses are trays, s...

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