Papago (Tohono O'odham) Indian Basket
Native American artist Matilda Saraficio made this handsome coiled basket at Geawuk on the Tohono O'odham Reservation in Arizona. The pattern is striking: four flying birds, each with a perfectly placed eye with a centered pupil. Matilda was an exhibitor at the Tucson Folklife Festival in 2012, demonstrating her coiled baskets.
The dish-shaped basket was coiled of bleached yucca leaves stitched tightly together, the rim stitching and the birds made with devil's claw. The accompanying tag, signed by Matilda and proclaiming the basket "PAPAGO INDIAN HANDICRAFT FROM KITT PEAK, ARIZONA," gives further information on the reverse side. (Kitt Peak mountain and Geawuk are both in Pima County, Arizona.) The tag's tied on to the basket with a piece of old white string. There is a similar basket--with a less interesting pattern--in the Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. It was purchased by a couple vacationing in the Kitt Peak area in 1972.
The basket is in wonderful condition, with no broken or missing stitches, no stains and only slight fading of the devil's claw. The diameter is 8 1/4 inches, the height is 1 3/4 inches and it weighs 6 ounces. The tag is in good condition, with the printing and writing clear on both sides. This is an excellent basket to display...and desirable for the basket collector.