Yavapai Tray

H-0-117 Western Apache olla.

The Western Apache were traditionally Athabaskan speakers belonging to the Nadene family of languages who migrated from their homeland in the interior of northern Canada to the American southwest during late prehistoric times. Since complex coiled basketry was all but unknown among the Canadian Athabaskans, it is assumed that the Apache learned how to weave such baskets after their arrival in the southwest, possibly from the Pueblo Indians or from the Yuman speaking peoples such as the Yavapai who were in the southwest before the Apache and whose baskets are most similar to Apache work. Four major groups of the Western Apache are: Tonto, Cibeque, White Mountain and San Carlos. Their baskets are mostly indistinguishable consequently, the term Western Apache is applied to this body of weaving.

This jar form, called an olla in Spanish, is perhaps the most classic type of Apache basketry. These large jars were typically elaborately designed in an eclectic array of designs, in this case geometric ones including triangles, diamonds and squares and rectangles. Coiling is to the left using three peeled cottonwood rods (Populus) for the foundation of the coil. The sewing splints are split peeled cottonwood for the white, now a deep rich brown color, and split devils claw (Proboscidea) for the black.

An old example of an Apache olla. 14"d. by 15"h. Circa 1890. $8,500.00