Yokuts Bottleneck Basket (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

late 19th Century
Yokuts
fiber, feathers
California, United States
Overall: 5 1/2 × 11 7/8 × 11 1/2 in. (13.97 × 30.16 × 29.21 cm)
2016.117
Not on view
The small-necked, shouldered basket is a classic example of Yokuts basketry and a trademark of Yokuts style and culture. Baskets like this were regarded as “treasure baskets,” and were used to store shell-bead money and other valued items. Shamans sometimes kept rattlesnakes in the baskets during the springtime Rattlesnake Dance, which honored the snakes as the spiritual messengers of the Yokuts chief deity, Tihpiknits. The Yokuts regarded quails as the traditional enemy of the rattlesnake, and decorated their baskets with quail feathers to ensure good behavior from the serpent inhabitants. By 1890, the Yokuts no longer performed the Rattlesnake Dance, although the basket style still remained popular.
From the Robert and Nancy Nooter Collection, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Hear My Voice: Native American Art of the Past and Present
VMFA: 8/19/17 – 11/26/17
Museum of Shenandoah Valley: 2/17/18 – 7/22/18
Taubman Museum of Art: 9/29/18 – 01/06/19
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.