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Indian baskets

Many Indian tribes believe that basket weaving was one of the arts the gods taught to women at the beginning of time; this is understandable because basketry is one of the oldest human arts. The tribes in the Southwest used several different basketry techniques, including wicker, plaiting, and coiling, which was the most widely used. In the pueblo tribes, pottery reduced the need for baskets, though they are still used in ceremonies and rituals; however, the Pima, Papago, and western Apache relied on basketry for storage and transportation (Furst and Furst 1982, 32).

Some of the finest basket weaving came from California Indians, who wove fine, intricate details into their baskets. The women typically coiled or twined the baskets and used materials such as shoots of redbud and willow trees, bear grass, and maidenhair fern stems. Each community, however, had a different technique, design, and shape, and California had one of the most diverse regions (Bibby 1996).