P-0-35 Maidu tray.

The Maidu are divided into three groups: the Nisenan (Valley), the Konkow (Foothill) and the Sierra (Mountain) Maidu. These peoples spoke mutually unintelligible dialects of the Maidu language, which belongs to the Penutian Super Family of languages. Their traditional territory is in northeastern California just north of Yosemite and bordered on the west by the Sacramento River with Lake Tahoe to the east.

Tray forms made by these Indians are referred to as a "ko-lo" and were used traditionally in the process of sifting acorn flour, acorn being a major food staple of these groups. This small size tray, however, was never intended by its weaver to see utilitarian work. Instead, its fine weave and polychrome colors suggest that this example was made as a work of art. While the majority of this basket's design is done in the classic red color, the outer stripe pattern is executed in black. This suggests that the tray is Mountain Maidu in origin. On the back (or non work surface) of the tray, one can see the classic Maidu use of split bifurcated stitches making the design appear somewhat blurry in contrast to the very sharp design outline facing the weaver as she made the basket. Coiling is to the left using three peeled willow rods (Salix) for the foundation of the coil. The sewing splints are split peeled maple (Acer) for the white (now a mellow honey color), split unpeeled California redbud (Cercis) for the red designs and dyed bracken fern root (Pteridium) for the black.

There are a few damaged or missing stitches at the start (very center) and on the final coil of the rim but in all, a very attractive little piece priced accordingly.

11 1/4"d. by 1 3/4"deep. Circa 1920. $675.00