Hupa Yurok mini mortar basket

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Fine small Hupa, Yurok mortar basket


A lovely little northern California basket bowl made by a Hupa or Yurok artist.  The round opening in the center is not damage.  The ends are neatly cut as are the warp fibers around the rim.   “(a)…common (Hupa) finish: warps are simply cut flush with last round; the twining is so tight it does not unravel.”  (Survival Skills of Native California by Paul Douglas Campbell, page 104).

I think this was made as a whimsey to sell as a miniature of a mortar basket.  Mortar baskets were of course larger, meant to sit in a depression in a stone.  The opening in the bottom of the basket was the space to grind seeds against the stone, then the ground food was brushed into the basket to gather it up.

The basket is a twined weave of bear grass with the added dark maiden hair fern.  Very fine with approximately 16 stitches or wraps per warp inch.  The basket is 5 1/8″ in diameter x 1″ deep and the central opening is about 3/8.”

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