Pine Needle Native American Lidded Basket Louisiana Tribal Art
Native American tribes in Louisiana are known for their fine pine needle baskets, like this one that is made of coils of needles joined with finely cut raffia wheat stitching that is tight and strong. There are 32 rows of stitching on the lid and 33 on the bottom. The center of the bottom, where the basket maker begins the basket, is a metal disc overcast with a buttonhole stitch, surrounded with incredibly fine stitching on the tiny starter coils of needles. The lid has a ring on top and a smaller one inside (not shown) made in the same fashion. The edges of the lid and bottom are finished with a lovely crisscross design and the lid fits perfectly even.
The pine needles used in this basket are a glossy brown, probably freshly fallen from the pine tree, then cured 3 to 4 weeks. The wheat stitching is precise and beautifully done, the basket obviously created by an experienced maker. Although baskets made in the southeast U.S. are routinely cited as being made by the Coushatta, it's difficult to pinpoint the tribe---there are several that made baskets like this one---and also the age, since it is in fine condition and showing little if any wear. It falls into the category of "contemporary" baskets, which are defined as dating from the very late 19th century until the present, when native interest in the craft of basket making revived. This basket measures 8 1/4 inches across the lid, 7 1/2 inches across the bottom and 1 1/2 inches high. It is very elegant and was probably used (if at all) for trinkets or sewing items.
If you would like to know more about native American pine needle baskets from Louisiana, visit this website: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs141p2_015425.pdf