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Ashwood basket

This basket is made of woven ash wood reinforced with a wooden base. It has a circular opening and is intended for carrying objects. Since its loose weaving leaves small gaps, one can assume that it was used to carry large goods such as furs or rolls of birch bark. The addition of two straps allows the basket to be carried on the back to facilitate handling.

To make this type of basket, the wood must first be collected and the bark removed. Ash is very popular for this type of work since its growth rings can be easily separated by hammering. To increase the flexibility of the braiding material, the rings are split into narrower strips, which are then smoothed and cut to the desired width.

Several basket-making techniques exist and use various materials: sweetgrass, wicker, bark and leaves of different tree species, stems, or even roots. Different types of baskets are made according to the purpose for which they are intended, such as for gathering fruit, shellfish or plants or for transporting furs or goods.

The choice of the right raw materials for manufacturing utilitarian objects is a knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation in each Indigenous community.


Date: circa 1940

Origin: North America

Owner: Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent. Rivière-du-Loup.


Perley, K., Turnbull, C., & Allen, P. (2000). Wolastoqiyik: Portrait of A People—Portrait d’une nation [Exhibition Catalogue]. Government of New-Brunswick—Culture and Sport Secretariat, Archaeological Services. https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/thc-tpc/pdf/Arch/POP-Wolastoqiyik.pdf

Mason, J. (2018). Caring for basketry and plant materials. Preventive conservation guidelines for collections, Canadian Conservation Institute. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from https://www.canada.ca/en/conservation-institute/services/preventive-conservation/guidelines-collections/basketry-plant-materials.html

Illustration: Ashwood basket