Indian Baskets of Northern California and Oregon

By Grafe, Steven L. | Oregon Historical Quarterly, June 22, 2017 | Go to article overview

Indian Baskets of Northern California and Oregon


Grafe, Steven L., Oregon Historical Quarterly


INDIAN BASKETS OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AND OREGON

by Ralph Shanks and Lisa Woo Shanks, editors

University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2015. Illustrations, maps, bibliography, index. 152 pages. $39-95, cloth.

Indian Baskets of Northern California and Oregon is volume three in a series that includes Indian Baskets of Central California (2006) and California Indian Baskets (2010), the latter of which is a description of Native basketry traditions in the Golden State's southern half. Like the previous titles, Indian Baskets of Northern California and Oregon presents an in-depth analysis of regional Native basketry. The text provides exhaustive commentary about the materials, techniques, and basket forms related to the creative expressions of a wide range of Indigenous people groups. The book is a boon for an array of audiences: basket artists, collectors and students of Native and craft arts, and regional historians among them. It is also a useful reference tool for libraries and museums. The degree of textual density, however, may prove off-putting for casual readers.

In his introduction, Ralph Shanks pays homage to his mentor, the late Lawrence Dawson of the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dawson's work is cited throughout the text, and he was undoubtedly a diligent and thoughtful researcher. Shanks cites the elder scholar's study of regional twined basketry and his finding that the technique was shared by West Coast tribes, Bering Sea and Asian groups, and Japan's Ainu people. Readers are told that Dawson "believed that the first baskets brought into North America were just two types of twined baskets," and he concludes that "after its humble beginnings in Asia, twined basketry flowered in California and Oregon" (p. …

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