Trophy Cup Fancy Basket, ca. 1900


After the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution brought newfound wealth to the nation. Summer resorts such as Bar Harbor boomed and Wabanaki basketmakers found an eager and concentrated market for their wares.

Fancy baskets were invented and Native weavers responded to market demand to create a wide variety of baskets for the tourist trade. These baskets were smaller, more portable and highly decorated. Recognizing the Victorian taste for elaborate decor, basketmakers created fancy baskets decorated with elegant handles, complex twisted weaves, sweetgrass and dyed splints.

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