A Tohono O’odham hoh or basket is made from a coil of bear grass (Nolina microcarpa, called moho in their language) sewn with bleached white yucca (Yucca elata - tokway). Other materials used include green or yellow-green unbleached yucca, black from the seed pod of the devilsclaw plant (Proboscidea parviflora - eehuk) and on occasion, red from the root of the Spanish or Shin Dagger (Yucca arizonica, oh’eetock).
An unusually large vintage (20-30 years old) basket, 13 inches across and 5.25 inches high. $450. (SANTA FE)
The the quail (6.76 by 7 and $125.) was woven by Fred Cruz, as were the Mule deer (just under 7 inches high and 6.5 inches across - SOLD) and the Gila Woodpecker on the saguaro (4 inches high and 3 across - $110).
. The red maze is by Dolores Stevens. It measures just under 9.5 inches across. $600. The basket with the four flying birds has a heavier coil count, which makes it a serviceable basket for use, if you so choose. (If used for serving breads or rolls, we recommend lining in it with a napkin, if for mail, no precautions are necessary. 11.5 by 2.5 inches. $175. (BOTH IN TUCSON)
The maze pattern design is generally believed to represent the path that I’itoi - Elder Brother - took to his home near the base of Baboquivari Peak in order to evade anyone who might follow him. Relatives of the Tohono O’odham, the Pima or Akimel O’odham (River People), are recorded as having said that it was the floor plan of a home built by Se-eh-ha to confound his enemies. More recently the story has evolved into the maze as symbolizing the path of life. There is some disagreement as to whether the figure is entering or leaving the maze. The version that has the figure entering, holds that the small ‘nook’ near the center is where one sits and reflects upon one’s life before completing the journey. Regardless of the version, the design lends itself nicely to the path-of-life interpretation as while it has no shortcuts, there are no dead-ends either, and the entire path must be followed in order to complete the journey.
At left is an unusual split stitch basket, have cattail as the warp instead of the more usual beargrass. 7 inches across. $50. The next one has a trim of black ihuk. 6.5 inches across. $60. A tightly woven spiral design, 6.5 inches across. $60. And finally the start pattern inside a whirling mtiif. 8.25 inches across. 1.25 inches deep. $68 (ALL FOUR ARE IN SANTA FE)
The terrific old style maze woven of red yucca root (very difficult to do) is by Delores Stevens. 11.25 inches across and 1.25 inches deep. $800. And finally the basket with 4 flying birds -probably pelicans. Why pelicans? Well during the powerful summer thunderstorms blow in shorebirds (like the pelicans) from the California coast and their association with the life-giving rain that begins far out over the ocean makes them quite important. 11.5 by 1.5 inches. $220.
Some examples of Tohono O'odham horsehair baskets:
The double red and black Friendship Dance with a bonfire in the middle is 4.25 inches across and .5 inch deep. $800. The black Friendship Dance with people and dogs in the center is 3.5 inches across and .25 inch deep. Woven by Elizabeth Juan. $675.
The red and black butterfly basket is 2 3/8 inches across and was woven by Adeline Molina. $185. The tiny lidded basket is a mere 7/16 of an inch across. Mike and Flora Ambrose make these and they are $12. You might want to click on the image to enlarge it.... (ALL IN TUCSON)
Delores Stevens woven the turtle basket at left, which measures 9.5 inches across. The turtle tray is a vintage pieces - 1970s. 13.5 by 7 inches. $150. (BOTH IN TUCSON)
The spider at left is an older basket. 7 inches across. $65. The newer spider basket at right has a spider woven of red yucca root. 6.5 inches across. $75. (BOTH IN TUCSON)
Both were woven with using the split stitch and covered stitch techniques. Tortoise is 8.75 inches across. $110. The kokopelli is about 7.25 inches across and $48.