Plaited, dyed wood splint storage baskets like this one were commonly produced in the Northeastern U.S. from the mid-1800's. This round basket with inset lid, often termed a sewing basket, dates from the late 19th century and is made of brown ash, the so-called "basket tree." The combination of both narrow and wide weft splints narrows the area of origin down to New England, probably from one of the Wabanaki tribes. possibly Penobscot. The dyed splints began as a vivid orange-red; the least faded splints are naturally on the bottom, hidden over the years from the light. As was the custom, the interior splints were not colored, to conserve the valuable dye. The lid, which fits perfectly and removes easily, has a small curved handle wrapped with very narrow splint strips and there are two rows of twined splint encircling the basket.
This well-constructed basket measures 9 inches wide at its widest, stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and the diameter of the opening for the lid is almost 7 inches. In very good condition, the missing pieces are in one area, shown in photo 4. There is about 2 1/2 inches of narrow splint and coiled rim finish gone on the upper edge and about 3 1/2 inches of the twined decorative splint absent below that. There's a dark stain on one side on the interior bottom. Otherwise, the basket is complete and undamaged, with a lovely aged color.