This large, finely hand woven sewing basket was fashioned by a member of the Coushatta (Koasati) people of Louisiana. Constructed of longleaf pine needles, dried and bundled in coils, the lidded basket is beautifully stitched together with raffia in the distinctive pattern used by this tribe. Coiled pine needle baskets like this one from the 1940's are synonymous with the Coushatta tribe. The pine needles were expertly dried and bundled; they have remained firm yet flexible over the years. The green Bakelite* handle, obviously added later on, is a repurposed cabinet handle, possibly attached by a seamstress who did not want to use the edges of the lid to lift it off. It is fastened on the underside of the lid with a couple of screws that have darkened and become a bit rusty. We have not attempted to remove the handle, but the purist basket collector may want to.
This basket measures 10 inches across and stands 4 inches high with the lid on. The handle is 1 inch high and 4 inches long. All the pine needles are in place and unbroken. The wear to the raffia is shown in our photos #6 and #7: frayed strands on the inner rim of the lid and some missing strands on the bottom edge, both places where the basket received the most abrasion. The basket is sturdy, weighing 1 1/2 pounds, and is in overall excellent condition. It's ready for many more years of use, as well as being a handsome Native American display basket. *We tested the handle and it is Bakelite.