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Cahuilla

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Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians Artist



Basket, n.d.
Juncus (plant material)
2 3/4 in. x 5 5/16 in. (7 cm x 13.5 cm)

Creation Place: North America, Native American, California
Technique: Basketmaking (Coiling)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Jonathan Tibbet
Accession Number: P1133
Restricted hemispherical basket with a flat base. Made with coiled construction. Decorated with the "Milky Way" checkered pattern (white rectangles are stars and black rectangles are space.) Three-part orange geometric pattern outlined in black on buff, and three tessellate swirls in black on sides.

Commentary
The spiraling checkerboard pattern worked into this basket is sometimes referred to as the Milky Way and is a traditional Cahuilla design. The white rectangles are the stars and the black ones are the dark of space. The Cahuilla recognized many of the basic laws of physics and recorded them in their stories. Among those laws was the concept of roatation. One part of the creation story tells about the formation of the earth and how the creators overcame the centrifugal force of the spining mass of the planet and formed the earth into a single solid mass. You can see the representation of centrifugal force in the widening, elongating forms in the spiraling Mily Way.

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