Southern Appalachian Digital Collections

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Basket: rivercane, purse

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  • Cherokee basket weavers made baskets for a variety of functions. This purse basket, or "shopper" as it was sometimes called, was used by women. The drop handles are made from wood and were carved separate from the basket; the handle attachments were woven into the basket before the rim was attached. Drop handles are a departure from the handles found on earlier market baskets. Market baskets were much larger and their rigid handles were woven into the form, allowing the user to carry heavy loads. The purse basket is an indication of changing circumstances in the market. This undated basket was woven from rivercane by Cherokee basket weaver, Mary Tramper. The rivercane was dyed with walnut and bloodroot to give the cane its contrasting colors of brown and orange. The design is a variation of Noonday Sun.