*** 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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Toll-free phone (800) 579-0860     E-mail:  info@indianterritory.com






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Catalog's thumbnail photos link to large photos, descriptions, prices and additional angle photos


Orders : Toll-free phone (800) 579-0860 Tue-Sat 11-4 Pacific Time   or    E-mail:  info@indianterritory.com





We Buy and Sell Estate Collections of Antique American Indian Art


NEW ADDRESS : 36 Argonaut, Suite 120 , Aliso Viejo CA 92656 Open Mon-Fri 11-4 By Appointment Only ; Online Catalog/Shopping Cart Open 24/7




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

Mon-Fri 11-4

Pacific Time









Below are Direct Links to Our Online Catalog

of American Indian items for Sale


American Indian Baskets - All

American Indian Art - All Categories




Yavapai Apache basket

apache basket pictorial

  Note: The links above take you from the "article section" of our website at indianterritory.com to our "dynamic / database driven" Online Catalog section  at navajorugsindianbaskets.com . Artifact thumbnail photos in the Online Catalog section appear Six items per Page and additional photos can be found using the arrows at the bottom of each set of thumbnail photos.  Each thumbnail photo is "clickable" with hyperlinks to 1. photo enlargement of the item 2. description of item including size, age and price in most cases and 3. three close-up or various angle view photos of the same items that will appear in pop-up windows. Additional information can be obtained using the red quick inquiry link under the description of every item in the catalog. (Clicking the quick inquiry link  sends us the ID# of the item as well as a thumbnail photo. Please include your email address where prompted or we will be unable to reply.) Also in the top right hand corner of each artifact's description page you will see these three icons:

print this item send email request info on this item

The printer icon opens a plain background image of the artifact suitable for printing for your easy reference. The envelope icon will use your computer's email program to open an email addressed to us. and the "?" question mark icon performs the same function as the red quick inquiry link described above.

About Apache Baskets - A Brief History

apache basketOf all the baskets of the southwest region , early three rod coiled Apache baskets of the Western Apache and Yavapai Apache are the most collectible.

While coarse twined burden baskets are still woven today, Apache fine coiled willow basketry on the three rod foundation died with the Great Depression of the 1930's.  A number of influences converged at this time.  Tourism to the Southwest slowed. The basket collectors market dropped off as wealthy collectors bought up existing collections of basketry from "less liquid" collectors. By the late 19th century the Industrial Revolution had produced  cheap pots and pans so labor intensive basketry was no longer practical or necessary culturally so most baskets made during the 1880-1930 era were made for resale.  Apache children were sent to government schools and discouraged from traditional weaving.

 An artform perfected over thousands of years was lost in a decade as weavers took up new lines of work .  Generally, only the relatively quickly made open weave single rod burden baskets continued to be made for the tourist industry.  When the economy and iapache basket  polychrome olla pre-1880nterest in basket collecting returned after World War II, fine three rod coiled basketry had disappeared; there was no economic incentive to spend months weaving fine basketry in the new inflationary economy.  For these reasons , all the Apache baskets listed on our website--unless otherwise specified--date from approx. 1875/1885 (the beginning of the collector period) through 1930 (the end of fine coiled basketry.)

apache basket

Visually , Apache baskets are striking with strong contrast in color and bold geometric or pictorial (less common) motifs .  Being on a three rod foundation makes the baskets tight, stiff and sturdy with no bend to them, and yields rounded well-defined coils that stand out.  (By contrast, Pima baskets of Southern Arizona  which use the same external willow and martynia (devilsclaw seedpod) are coiled on a grass bundle foundation yielding flatter and less rigid coils. Pimas --which are also relatively more common and were somewhat more quickly made than the Apaches--often run about one-third the price of a similar size, form and weave of the more desired Apache. Mint, early Pima trays might start in the mid hundreds with the best mint Apache trays starting in the low thousands.


Plant materials used by Apache basket weavers

Willow shoots -- sized, peeled (whitish originally, aged to a golden tan /light brown in most all early examples).  Rarely, sun-burnt willow (reddish or golden-red willow) is used in decoration.

Martynia / devilsclaw seed pod --black/dark brown; used in design

Yucca root -- used sparingly in a small percentage of Apache baskets; brick red in color. 


Forms of Apache Baskets 

apache basket 

Most Apache baskets were made as trays (winnowing trays, food preparing trays) with a slightly concave form. The deeper trays such as this one are alternatively called either shallow bowls or deep trays.



Apache ollas ("olla" prounced "oy-yuh" , a Spanish word meaning jars with a neck and mouth and in Indian art collecting is used to describe such forms in both basketry as well as pueblo pottery) come in many forms -- some of the finest are an idealized human torso form with a base, shoulders, neck and "mouth".


apache basket  polychrome olla pre-1880

apache basket





Two early Apache ollas showing superior form. The polychrome olla on the left on the red saddleblanket dates to 1880 or earlier and demonstrates the very small base tapering gracefully to rounded shoulders to a short but graceful neck and slightly flared at the mouth. The circa 1900 Apache olla shows a slightly wider base in proportion to the shoulders.



Apache burden baskets like this late 19th century example are still made by the Apache today. Modern examples usually use commercial leather and are woven in a larger weave than the pre-1930 examples. The willow on new examples can be almost white in color while the willow in the older baskets ages to a golden tan or darker color. Unlike trays, bowls and olla forms Apache burden baskets are woven in a twining style rather than coiling.




Apache Baskets  - Antique vs. Modern Revivals

Apache basket   apache basket                         

1940's Apache Basket "Revival" Basket (above ,left) has large stitches creating blocky motifs.  The photo to the right shows a modern twined weave on a single rod/stick foundation more quickly woven Apache basket while the one on the right is a tightly coiled c1900-1920's Apache basketry bowl woven on a three small willow rods foundation--which creates small even rigid rounded coils and is a difficult skill requiring long apprenticeship and much time to create.  For many reasons. fine even work as seen in the basket on the right has for the most part ended with the Great Depression of the 1930's. Most collectible American Indian baskets that survive today date from the 1880-1930 collector period.

If this page was of interest to you , you may also be interested in:

Display of Indian Baskets

Care of Indian Baskets

American Indian Baskets


Below are Direct Links to Our Online Catalog

of American Indian items for Sale


American Indian Baskets - All

American Indian Art - All Categories



Articles & Info Coming Soon To Include:

Western Apache

Yavapai Apache

San Carlos Apache

Jicarilla Apache


American Indian Baskets - Online Catalog





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


(Please note that all items are subject to availability and that prices are subject to change without notice. Photos and information may be re-used with email or written permission only. (Email: info@indianterritory.com)  Websites are free to link to this page or any pages on our site but may not copy and publish any photos or information on their sites without email or written authorization from Len Wood's Indian Territory.    Thank you.)

                              Copyright 1994-2015 Navajo Rugs Indian Baskets at Len Wood's Indian Territory, Inc.