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). 
 

 

The split stitch duck effigy 6.5 inches long and 4 inches high. $45. The mule, woven by Fred Cruz (his wife wove the turtle basket further down the page) is 4 inches long and 5 inches high and not intending to move...  $85.

. The red maze is by Dolores Stevens. It measures just under 9.5 inches across. $600. (TUCSON) The black and white Friendship dance basket was woven by Delores Stevens. 8 inches across. $150 (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.

 


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.

The turtle basket was woven by Della Cruz (her husband woven the mule at the top of the page) 6 by 7 by 1.5 inches. $48. The spider is an older basket. 7 inches across. $65. (BOTH IN TUCSON)

Both were woven with using the split stitch and covered stitch techniques. A bat, 7.5 inches across. $85 A desert tortoise, 8.75 inches across.$110. (BOTH IN SANTA FE)

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGES

 

The basket with the four eagles was brought in by an old friend who has been weaving all her life, Regina Lopez. 8.5 inches across. $110. The large (7.5 by 8.5 inches) split stitch basket was made by Nathan Jones, from Fresnal Village. $125 (Tucson)

 

All in Tucson, from left to right: The polychrome desert tortoise with lightning motifs is also 7.75 inches across. $$100 (BOTH IN SANTA FE) The the polychrome butterfly basket (with red yucca root in the wings) is by Ida Pablo.  7 inches across. $110. The red ant basket was woven with a very dark red-brown yucca root. 6 3/8 inches across and 6 coils per inch. By Delores Stevens. $250 (BOTH IN TUCSON)

The first two baskets are coyote tracks where the tracks drag - a tired coyote's tracks as one weaver explained to me. The one at left is 4.5 inches across and $110. The next one is 6.5 inches across and $125. Both by Delores Stevens in red yucca root. The small maze was woven by Doris Jose and is 7.5 inches across and about 1.5 inches deep. $300. The red sivalik or whirlwind pattern basket was woven by Frances Stevens and is 8.7 inches across. $300.OUT ON APPROVAL

 

With a red yucca root man in the maze, this basket is by Delores Stevens. 6.5 by 1 inches. $350. Spiders and lizards! Specifically Black Widow spiders as she added a bit of red yucca root for detail (click for larger image) 9.5 inches across and 1.5 inches deep. By Marian Cruz. $400 (TUCSON)