I-M-230 Karok work hat.

The Karok traditionally spoke one of the Hokan languages and their area of habitation was the lower Klamath River system in northwestern California. The name Karok means “Upstream People”, a name referring to their position on the Klamath river in relation to their down stream neighbors, the Yurok. This entire region was once populated by many small tribes all sharing similar cultural traits including their basketry, which can be very difficult to separate out as to tribal designations. This example has a large amount of red woodwardia in the design as well as a striped background which suggests a Karok origin (see: The Hoover Collection of Karok Baskets,1985:63 for a very similar example). This type of hat which has a root background is fairly uncommon in comparison to the fully overlaid fancy dance hats. These are usually called work hats but these more elaborately designed examples may have also functioned as special hats to be worn by the women to go to the city for shopping or to go to church. The main design on this example is a version of the obsidian blade design.

This hat has been well worn with darkened pine root on the inner edge, worn and polished rod ends and minor edge damage. The hat is plain twined with hazel shoots (Corylus) for the warp and split conifer root (Pinaceae) for the weft. The design is done in a non-twist overlay using split bear grass (Xerophyllum) for the white and split giant chain fern stem (Woodwardia) that has been dyed with the inner bark of the alder (Alnus) for the red color and split maidenhair fern stem (Adiantum) for the black (now considerably worn). A good example of this rare type of hat with evidence of having been well used by its owner.

7 inches d. by 4 inches h. Circa 1900. $595.00