kwelmexwus (Basket)

About this object

History of use

Coiled basketry traditionally had many uses. It was used for storage of foods, medicines and personal belongings. Some baskets were used for cooking and boiling water, while others had more private uses. Haeberlin and Teit (1928) suggest that in the past not all women were basket makers, but that the skill became more widespread during the early and middle twentieth century when basketry was highly collectible and it became a source of income for many local First Nations women. Basket making declined after the 1950s, but it is still present in many Coast Salish communities and interest is growing.

Cultural context

basketry; storage; plant technology

Physical description

Round coiled cedar root basket which flares slightly towards its rim. Edge of basket is sewn with red cherry bark. The surface of the basket is decorated with a pattern formed from diagonal lines of red squares. Each of the squares has two smaller squares of canary grass inside, near the top right corner.