*** 46th Anniversary 1969-2015 of our American Indian Art Gallery now located in Aliso Viejo, California ***

Nation's largest selection of Antique American Indian Art,  Navajo Rugs and Navajo Blankets and old antique American Indian baskets

Jeff Wood, President ; Len Wood, Founder (Retired)

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Len Wood's
Indian Territory, Inc.

Jeff Wood, President
The Nation's largest

selection of Navajo Rugs, Indian Baskets and Antique

American Indian Art


Len Wood's

36 Argonaut , Suite 120

Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

phone: (949) 497-5747 
orders: (800) 579-0860
(email orders anytime;

 phone orders Mon-Fri

 11-4 Pacific Time )


Gallery Open By Appointment Only

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Native American Indian Baskets

Old, Antique American Indian Baskets Circa Pre-1870 to 1930

Our Current Inventory of Antique Baskets can be found HERE

Indian baskets from Len Wood's Indian Territory Gallery in Laguna Beach, California include examples from throughout the Western USA. These early museum-quakity ,investment- grade examples include many forms and technologies that disappeared after the Great Depression of the 1930's. All the baskets in this photo date circa1860-1930 and include Chumash, Yokuts, Pauite, Washo, Mission and Apache among others. Click photo to view our current catalog of antique baskets for sale.

Len Wood's Indian Territory, Inc. -- with galleries located in Laguna Beach, California since 1969 -- maintains the nation's largest selection of antique PRE-1930  native North American Indian baskets including basketry examples from Arizona and the Southwest tribes (including the Apache and the Pima), the Great Basin of Nevada (including Indian baskets of the Panamint, Chemehuevi and Washo Indian cultures), Southern California Mission Indian baskets, Indian baskets of the central Californian Yokuts, Maidu, Pomo, Mono, etc., Northern California Indian baskets of the Hupa, Karok and Yurok, as well as Indian baskets of the Pacific Northwest Coast including the Tlingit and Eskimo. Our Current Inventory of Antique Baskets can be found HERE

Available American Indian Baskets

(Online Catalog to View or Purchase Baskets)

How to Sell your Indian Basket Collection

Free Appraisals of Your Indian Basket Collection

Brief Overview of Indian Basket Collecting©
By Jeff and Matt Wood
Len Wood's Indian Territory Gallery
Laguna Beach CA

The many dozens of Native American tribal cultures, and hundreds of tribal sub-culture groups, of the Western US produced what many collectors consider the world's finest basketry. These basket-weaving cultures include the Apache and Pima of Arizona, the Panamint of the Eastern California desert and the Chemehuevi, Washo and Paiute of the Great Basin of Nevada, the various Mission Indian cultures of Southern California, the Yokuts, Mono, Maidu and Pomo of Central California, the Yurok, Hupa and Karuk/Karok of Northern California and the Tlingit, Haida and Thompson River cultures of the Pacific Northwest Coast among them.

At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century basketry of the Western US tribal cultures was being made primarily for sale and trade to trading posts, dealers and collectors. The Industrial Revolution had brought inexpensive cast iron pots and pans to the west at the same time that tourism to western tribal reservations was increasing by train and via the newly mass-produced automobile. Special juried festivals such as "Field Days" at Yosemite National Park hosted exhibitions of the finest baskets and their weavers and wealthy collectors would compete to acquire the finest examples. Weavers competed to weave the most refined and more aesthetically pleasing examples to meet the needs of the market.

The Great Depression of the 1930s brought the end of traditional basket weaving for most tribes, especially for those cultures where the greatest skill and most difficult weaving technology was practiced. In that fifty year window of time from the end of the Indian Wars/early reservation period of 1880 to the beginning of the Great Depression of the 1930s an Early Collector Period existed in which basketry attained a peak in quality and refinement. While contemporary baskets of some forms are still woven by some of the cultures today, baskets of this early era are among the most eagerly sought by collectors.

Each culture used weaving materials native to their region and forms and weaving techniques that had been passed down through untold generations. For example, in Arizona both the Apache and the Pima wove baskets out of split and sized willow shoots and split devilsclaw seedpod, however the finest Apache baskets were woven on a three-rod foundation which made for a very rigid basket with well rounded rib-like coils. The Pima wove on a grass bundle foundation which yielded a flatter coil and a slightly flexible basket. The traditional basketry forms of the Apache and Pima include tall vase-shaped grain storage jars known as ollas,as well as shallow and deep trays and bowls of various sizes and shapes. The shallow trays which can run from under six inches diameter to over twenty inches diameter can feature geometric motifs such as whirlwinds, floral /cactus/squash blossom and other plant motifs ,sun, star or lightning inspired geometric motifs or figurative motifs such as human forms, coyotes ("dogs"), cactus, stars, crosses, spirit figures, deer and others.

While some of these cultures continue to weave today very few are made using the same technology as the ancestors. For example, the Apache continued to weave twined burden baskets after the 1930s but relatively few coiled, three rod foundation baskets and the few made were often woven with larger stitch and blockier motifs—a result of both the break in the chain of weaving knowledge and the economic shift that did not allow for the time commitment to finer weaving. The Pima in recent years have focused on horsehair miniature baskets for the most part. After the 1930s the Papago or Tohono O Odham would continue to weave in yucca while giving up weaving in willow. Yucca baskets could be woven quickly, sold at a modest price to the mid and late 20th century tourist and curio market and still yield a profit to the weaver. Revival of willow basketry and three rod foundation basketry takes place from time to time with various degrees of success however the majority of collectors as of this writing still express a preference for historic era examples.

California is home to the largest number of fine basketry weaving cultures and the greatest diversity of forms, materials and weaving technologies. The Southern California cultures from the Kumeyaay of the San Diego region to the Cahuilla of Palm Springs and north to the Chumash of Santa Barbara have been collectively grouped and known as "Mission Indians" in mass culture ( a reference to the Spanish Mission system in early California history). In basket weaving all Mission Indian cultures except Chumash (which weave on rod foundation) share a coiled on bundle weaving technology with a diagonally tucked stitch end and use a combination of a native Californian plant called juncus – with its distinctive gold to red coloration , combined with an even, light colored sumac and dyed juncus (juncus that had usually been mud-dyed to a dark brown or black color) in some combination in all their baskets. Many of the basket weaving cultures would spend a great deal of time in caring for and maintaining the native plants before harvesting, and in cutting and sizing plant materials to a uniform diameter prior to weaving.

Unlike Southern California coiled baskets, Northern California baskets were primarily twined of various tree and fern roots and made in hat/cap forms, bowl forms, cradles and trays.

Central Californian basketry was quite varied and included the delicate feathered baskets of the Pomo, used originally as wedding dowry and then after 1880 primarily for trade to collectors, to the acorn feast bowls of the Yokuts and Maidu who could cook acorn mush and acorn soup inside a basket without burning it by placing hot stones on top of the mush and letting the mush itself protect the basket from the hot stone.

Today, most active collectors seek the rarest, finest and best examples their budget can afford. While a few cultures have relearned some of the skills required to make excellent baskets today and are developing markets for them, for most collectors pre-1930 baskets represent the unbroken chain of teaching before it was interrupted by compulsory government education (often at boarding schools which made teaching the next generation of weavers difficult to impossible), the lack of necessity for baskets among the tribal cultures themselves-- brought by the cheap storage pans and pots of the Industrial Revolution, and loss of collector market for a prolonged period and the resulting change in the economics of basket weaving brought by the Great Depression.

Today, some basket collectors seek items from a particular culture or region--perhaps the region in which they live; others seek a top example from many different tribal cultures, while still others seek examples that meet a particular need of a display environement. Collectors display trays and shallow bowls on display stands as well as directly on the wall by using a needle and thread to make a small loop which can be placed on a picture hook on a wall. Ollas and bowls are typically set on tables, shelves and mantels. All forms are also displayed in cabinetry with china and crystal cabinets making excellent basket collection display cases for small to medium sized examples.

Basketry is one of the world's oldest art forms and technologies and is being collected today both by those decorating their home or office in antiquities as well as by those collecting primarily for investment purposes. While homes featuring Craftsman, Ranch, Spanish Colonial, Pueblo and similar architectural or interior décor styles are natural showcases for fine native basketry, basketry is also found in modern corporate offices and alongside modern and contemporary art as well, as the timeless sophistication and refinement found in most basketry can find points of interconnection with other art-forms from all cultures.

Native basketry tends to unite people of varied backgrounds, belief systems and political perspectives-- people who might not reach agreement on any other subject—into a mutual appreciation of the skill and sophistication of these early cultures which were able to combine form and function, utility and art within a single work. Basket collecting is a common ground where many new friendships are made and provides the collector with a direct touchstone to America's past, great unwritten history.

In addition to its universal appeal, history and use in decorating and display, many collectors are also viewing Native American basketry as an investment in art, antiquities and collectibles.. Collections are appraised and re-appraised at regular intervals and insured on homeowners policies. The selling and / or donating of a basket collection is becoming an important factor in many collectors long term investment plans.

Within each basketry culture and each form there are standards of refinement and excellence and baskets are generally judged by collectors in relation to both the best that the particular culture was known to produce within a form as well as the best currently available in that form. Collectors have been inspired to publish books on their basket collections and sponsor public exhibitions to share their love of basketry and basketry collecting. Most surviving examples of early baskets are in the hands of the descendants of the collectors of that Early Basket Collector Period 1880-1930 and can be found today in antique stores, auctions and galleries featuring Native American antiquities.

Developing a deep reference library as well as relationships among basket dealers and fellow collectors is important in the development of a fine collection. It is important for new collectors to note that American Indian basketry is relatively rare as most of the tribal basketry of the world is made in Africa and Asia and many a new collector purchase what they think is a Southwestern Indian basket of some kind at a garage sale or swap meet only to discover later that it had its origins on another continent. Until a collector is sufficiently experienced to make completely independent evaluations, its important for new collectors to obtain both documentation of authenticity and money back guarantee of authenticity when purchasing and to acquire from known sources with whom the collector has established an ongoing relationship.

Len Wood's Indian Territory Inc copyright 2008-2009

Requests for reprint by written permission only and to include quotation in full with authorship credits to both Len Wood's Indian TErritory Inc as well as to this website www.indianterritory.com Email requests to: info@indianterritory.com



Below are links to our Additional Articles & Information on North American Indian Baskets

If you prefer to go directly to our Online Catalog of Available Indian Baskets - Click Here

Indian Baskets  - Antique

     By Region & Tribe

California Indian Baskets

Southern California Indian Baskets

   Mission Baskets  / 

Mission Indian Baskets

          Chumash Baskets  /  Chumash Indian Baskets

Central California Indian Baskets

  -  Maidu Baskets    

 -  Mono Baskets

 -  Pomo Baskets  

   -  Yokuts Baskets 


 Northern California Indian Baskets

Hupa Baskets

  -  Yurok Baskets

    -  Karok Baskets

 -  Klamath Baskets

 -  Shasta Baskets

 -  Pit River Baskets / Achomawi Indian Baskets

  -  Wintu Indian Baskets   /  Wintun Baskets

-  Atsugewi Indian Baskets

Southwest Indian Baskets

   -  Apache Baskets / Western Apache Indian Baskets

-  Pima Baskets / Pima Indian Baskets


-  Navajo Baskets / Ute Baskets

 -  Hopi Baskets  / Hopi Indian Baskets 

-  Jicarilla Apache Indian Baskets

-  San Carlos Apache Indian Baskets

   -  Havasupai Baskets/ Walapai Baskets


  -  Papago Baskets / Tohono O'odham




Great Basin Baskets


   -  Washo Baskets  / Washoe Baskets  (Nevada)


-  Chemehuevi Baskets  / Chemehuevi Indian Baskets

   -  Panamint Baskets   (Death Valley, CA )

   -  Paiute Baskets

Northwest Coast Baskets

  -  Tlingit Baskets

-  Attu Baskets  /  Aleut  / Atka


 -  Imbricated Weave Baskets

  -  Thompson River / Salish / Klickitat

   -  Eskimo Baskets

-  Tsimshian Baskets

   Makah Baskets  /

Nootka Baskets


Individual Indian Artifact Items & Entire Collections Purchased

Professional Indian Basketry Cleaning & Repair

Insurance & Archival Artifact Documentation


 Always Buying Old / Antique American Indian Items : Navajo Rugs and Navajo Blankets,  Indian Baskets and other Native American Indian items!


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