Birchwood Basket

Date: 1880-1900

 

Description: This basket and basket cover is made out of birch bark and is thought to have been made by the Odawa tribe. The Odawa were a woodland tribe are related to but distinct from the Ojibwa. The basket is embroidered with elaborate floral patterns, which were very common among the woodland tribes. The floral designs look similar to quillwork, but they are actually done with dyed reeds instead of quills. Birch is not only a lightweight but an extremely water resistant wood, and many Native tribes used birch for roofs, canoes, and pots. The solid work of this basket, rather than a more common woven design, means this could have been used for carrying or holding water.

 

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