Carrying Basket, Micmac, ca. 1870


This ash splint basket has a cover that is attached by running the handle through the rim. Alternating splints on this basket are dyed green, but the color has faded, and is visible only on the inside.

Look inside a basket decorated with color to estimate its age. Red, yellow, blue, black and green colors may decorate the old baskets. These were dyed with vegetable dyes swabbed onto the outer surface of the splints. Commercial aniline dyes replaced plant dyes in the late 19th century. The splints were soaked completely in the dyestuff, which was available in a variety of bright colors. The colors fade quickly when exposed to light.

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