North American Auction Company
Timed Auction

Last Chance June 2023 Passed Lots Offering

Mon, Jun 5, 2023 02:00AM EDT - Fri, Jun 9, 2023 03:00PM EDT
Lot 606

Original Inupiaq Woven Basket By Janet Geary

Estimate: $200 - $400

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$25 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$25,000 $2,500
Included in this lot is an Original Inupiaq Woven Basket made by Native American Inupiat Janet Geary, Buckland, Alaska. The Inupiaq people are known for their basketry made from whale baleen. Created at the dawn of the 20th century, the baskets made with baleen (a flexible material found in the mouths of Mysticeti or baleen whales) were based on coiled willow-root prototypes. This Alaska Native made basket is woven from grass that is collected along the west coast of Alaska. The process of gathering, drying, and dying the grass takes up to two months or more. The intricate art of coil weaving grass into beautiful grass baskets is some of the finest, most delicate and artistic forms of Alaskan native craftsmanship. The popularity of hand-made baskets was initiated by a group of Americans who were opposed to the industrialization that was overtaking the country. They idealized the past and wanted to preserve it. This anti-modernism attitude, called the American Arts and Crafts movement, came from a group of women of the educated, democratic-minded, upper middle class who sought to combat their mounting alienation by promotion of communally-based handicrafts. Through re-contextualizing it as a symbol of anti-modernism, collectors endowed it with an aura of "sacredness” due to a quest for spiritual connection brought on by the waning power of Protestant Christianity with the rise in industrialization, immigration and urbanism. In reality, Native Americans regarded their baskets as largely, if not exclusively, utilitarian. Basketry, initially practised only by men, is a commercial endeavor now closely tied to the subsistence way of life practiced by native women. The women still harvest in communal groups and share with others who have migrated to the urban areas, which helps bind the past with the present, preserve their way of life and maintain their sense of identity as a subsistence culture. It also provides supplemental income for other necessities in this consumer-based world. This basket is in exceptionally fine condition, the coil weaving is tight and uniform, no marring noted. A photograph of the weaver, Janet, holding the basket is included with a date on the reverse May 19, 2007. Measures 8"W x 6"H without the lid, 9.25"H with lid attached.