June 21, 2011

Four mountain pattern inside ancient woven basket

This is a photo of one of hundreds of baskets that are on display in the Hubble Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona. Now a National Historic Site this trading post was purchased by John Lorenzo Hubble ten years after the Navajos returned from Bosque Redondo, NM in an event now known as the long walk.
This huge collection of baskets is located in the main room in the residence and in the trading post as well. Originally mounted on the walls by John Hubble then later moved to the ceiling by his daughters to save room on the walls for the numerous drawings and paintings which remain on display.
This basket depicts four symmetrical stepped shapes perhaps representing the four sacred mountains in Navajo cosmology. The optical illusion created by the pattern shows the black center core as the floor of a valley (and the deepest part of the basket) surrounded by mesas with vertical sides. This landform is a powerful and defining part of the southwest creating a strong sense of place for the descendants of the ancient people of this region.
Photographed in extremely low light with an iPhone camera. Copyright © 2011 WhatKnotShop

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