Western Mono Basket
woven of deer grass, sedge root, and bracken fern root; with designs composed of horizontal bands of zigzags broken by vertical bands of zigzags; rim finished with a diagonal stitch of deer grass, sedge root, and bracken fern root, height 12 in. x diameter 28 in.
Remnant of an old label in interior reads ___elumnan family Tulare Co., Cal,
This impressive basket was published in Otis Tufton Mason, Aboriginal Indian Basketry, Bureau of American Ethnology Report for the year 1902, reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc. 1988 (pp. 158-159 and fig. 54) and George Wharton James, Indian Basketry, 1909; reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc. 1972, (fig. 74, fig. 87).
Historically, this basket has been used as an exemplary illustration of central California basketry. However, basket scholars Mason and James differ on the origin of the basket: Mason states Mono while James claims it is Yokuts. The old collection label, when the initial letters are filled in, would read "Moquelumnan", an obsolete term for Miwok Indians. Clues to the origin can be seen when the basket is examined. The construction technique of coiling to the left in addition to an exterior work surface (the surface facing the maker), suggests that it is likely a Western Mono weaver, and had been misidentified as Yokuts for years. Mason writes about this basket, Plate 54 represents two of the finest bowls in the collection of F.S. Plimpton....The lower figure is a so-called Mono, made by a Nim-Shoshonean woman, and is a still better illustration of the use of narrow parallelograms, combined in lines concentric and radial, to give expression to phenomena such as lightning (1988: 158-159).