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Wikchamni Coiled Basketry


Although Wikchamni basketry tradition is near extinction, the basic features of the tradition have been retained by Mrs. Silva and covered by us in this paper. Emphasis has been on the style of construction of the coiled basket and on collection and preparation of the natural materials used. Certain conventions of basketry designs have not been covered and will require more research. How the stitches of a design pattern are calculated so that they are equally distributed (e.g., in the horizontal band designs) and how the curvature of the basket is taken into account (especially in the diagonal designs) still need to be investigated. Other basket traditions, such as twined work, have not been mentioned, although the Wikchamni did make some twined baskets. When Anna Gayton published her ethnography, she stated that she hadn't included much information on basket making "since the art was in no danger of extinction and it was hoped that some investigator would undertake its special study" (Gayton 1948:85). Today the tradition is carried on by very few Wikchamni, all of whom are in their senior years.

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