|Student project will be showcased in Anthropology Teaching Museum.
March 16, 2006
By Mimi Ko Cruz
In about 1900, members of the Chemehuevi tribe were using a coiled, jar-like basket made of willow and devil's claw with a tree of life design to store seeds, tools, jewelry or other personal items. More than 100 years earlier, the Kumeyaay tribe collected seeds in a shallow basket decorated with a symbolic snake.
These baskets are among those on display through June 23 in the Anthropology Teaching Museum in Room 424 of McCarthy Hall. The exhibit, "The Basket Is in the Roots," is part of a class project developed by anthropology students.
The student curators — Jared Anders, Paul Constantine, Jacques Guerreiro, Joe Jefferson, Deidra Kunin, Lauren Musser, Jeremy Orban and Tiffany Sakahara — borrowed the baskets from the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Pomona College Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, San Bernardino County Museum and Ventura County Museum of History and Art.
"There have been many exhibits of these baskets as fine art," said archaeology curation technician Nancy Jenner, who taught the museum curation class. "This exhibit focuses on what these baskets meant to people and how they used them."
For example, the display includes several twine baskets that "were made quickly and used hard for everyday food processing," she said.
Student Paul Constantine pointed to some of the simpler baskets on display: a heavily used, jug-like basket coated with natural tar for water storage, a twine fish trap and a seed beater. All the baskets can be traced to American Indians who lived in Southern California, he said.
Also on display are weaving tools, a 1909 photograph of a Cahuilla tribe weaver making a basket of various grasses and the basket itself.
Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.
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