P-0-30 Western Apache tray.

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.

The major groupings 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 is a classic example of a Western Apache tray (which often emphasizes eccentric changes in pattern, starting with the black circular tondo (center), changing to zigzags, then a band of negative diamonds which is then repeated at the rim. Coiling is to the left using three peeled cottonwood (Populus) or willow (Salix) rods for the foundation. The sewing splints are split peeled cottonwood for the white and split devils claw (Proboscidea) for the black.

A nicely woven example in good condition. 12"d. by 2 3/4"deep. Circa 1900. $650.00