Basket weaving is a key element of Hopi history, as baskets play an important role in many traditional ceremonies. For hundreds of years basket-making techniques have been passed down from one generation of Hopis to the next. Plaques, burden baskets, sifters and wedding baskets are a few common styles.
Plaques play an intricate role in Hopi society and are given by women as thank you gifts, as well as by Katsinam. These baskets are also used during ceremonies and play an especially important role in the initiation ceremonies of Hopi girls.
The wedding basket is traditionally made for the groom and presented to him at the wedding ceremony. This basket will be kept throughout his lifetime, and is buried with him to carry him into the afterlife.
Burden baskets were traditionally created with a forehead strap to hang the basket over the head and carry on the woman’s back. These baskets were used to keep the hands free during daily tasks, including caring for children, gathering food and tending crops. At the end of each day, a woman’s burden basket was hung outside her home, symbolizing a place for guests to store their burdens when they stop by. The legend tells that over the course of the guest’s visit, the wind carries many of the burdens away. When the guest leaves they find their “burdens” have been lifted.
Hopi baskets are made from tightly coiled and naturally dyed sumac and willow. A variety of designs, inspired by nature and animals, are used when creating the baskets.
Interested in purchasing a Hopi-made plaque or burden basket of your own? Check out the many styles and designs offered at Kachina House. Contact us at online or by calling 928-204-9750 today!