These two pine needle baskets were likely made by the same crafts person since they are similar in shape, have similar coiled attributes and appear to start in the same manner in the center of their base (see all photos). The precise age of the two baskets is not known, however the deep russet brown color of the needles is a characteristic that develops over time as the needles darken and acquire a patina. The price listed is for both baskets sold as a single Lot. The two baskets date from the mid 1900s, and could possibly be even older. They are actually darker brown than the pictures display since they are photographed under strong light. Each basket is made from a single continuous coil of pine needles that first begins with and forms the center of the base and then spirals out from that beginning point to complete the base before continuing up to construct the vertical walls. The coil is looped around and around and stitched firmly on top of its previous loop until the basket reaches its full desired height. The end of the coil is thinned and merged into the previous loop so that the rim appears level and the basket complete (see all photos). The stitching material on both baskets is the same and appears to be a linear plant fiber, most likely raffia but this needs to be further confirmed. The end result is a tight basket that has both strength and visual appeal.
These two baskets are American baskets produced either in the southeastern US or in Texas within the last 80 years. Certain Native American tribes crafted pine needle baskets (e.g., Alabama-Coushata, also the Miwok in north central California, etc.), and African-American slaves also have a long tradition of coiled basketry using various core materials. The Gullah made coiled baskets using black rush (bulrush) more than a century before sweetgrass became the primary core material among the low country basket makers around Charleston South Caroline. Since the 1950s, descendants of the Gullah in the southeastern US have produced ornate and decorative baskets combining light sweet grass with darker pine needles.
The two baskets here are from an older tradition of basketry than the more commercialized sweet-grass-pine needle baskets of the southeastern US. Of interest, these two baskets contain over 30 linear feet of pine needle-core coiling. Specifically, the small 5.5 inch diameter basket is made out of a 8.5 ft long pine needle core and the larger 10.5 inch diameter basket used about 25 linear feet of pine needle core to construct. Just the base or bottom of the large basket used about 10 ft of linear core to complete with the core coiled around itself nine times. And so if one uncoiled the pine needle cores from these two baskets and laid them out on the ground end to end same as a piece of rope, the pine needle cores would extend linearly for more than 33 ft long. The total length of the stitching if unwound and then laid out linearly would be more than 75 ft given that the stitching spirals around the core about 27 times per course on the small basket and about 57 times per course on the large basket.
These are two nice baskets that also still retain a very modest or very slight pine needle scent. They project an ambiance of craftsmanship and traditional living that extends back into prehistory when humans had a stronger bond to nature and all the other living things that surrounded them. Today, synthetic materials and machine produced goods have replaced hand-made items and have greatly enlarged the separation between humans and other living things. However, these baskets offer a chance to remember how just 150 years ago (these baskets are not this old), most rural families would have possessed a few baskets made of either oak splints, grass, reeds, hay, bulrush, bark, willow, or other materials. And so if you enjoy baskets or like primitive accouterments, then do consider purchasing these two basket while they are still available (the two baskets are sold as a single lot). And as always, this pair of baskets also comes with a full 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return them for a refund (if returned, both must be sent back since they are sold as a single lot, see my return policy below for complete details, certain shipping costs are nonrefundable).
SIZES: The large basket stands about 4 1/4 inches tall and has a diameter of about 10 inches by 11 inches (it is slightly oval). The coiled pine needle core in the large basket makes six revolutions to form its vertical side walls, and as noted above the core would stretch a total of 25 linear feet, if uncoiled. The small basket stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has a diameter of about 5 1/2 inches. The coiled pine needle core in the small basket makes four revolutions to form its vertical side walls, and as noted above this core would stretch a total of 8.5 linear feet, if it was uncoiled. Finally, the large basket has an estimated capacity of about 1.5 gallons (guess-estimate) and the small basket about 1 to 1.5 pints. The two basket together weigh a combined 2.1 lbs.
CONDITIONS: The small basket is in excellent condition no major broken binding strips, no major stains and no loss of needles (see all photos). Its coils are and stitching are tight and secure. The large basket is in fair to good condition with a few broken stitches and the unraveling of the pine needles along one segment of the rim (see the two photos with a pencil pointing to the loss pine needle segment). Otherwise, the rest of the core along the rim of the large basket is intact and tight and the large basket has no major stains and no other damage (see all photos). That is it, and one would be hard-pressed to find another pair of 60+ year old pine needle baskets in better shape than these two baskets without paying a large premium for the opportunity.
SHIPPING: The two baskets together weigh just over two pounds before packing and boxing. All US mainland buyers pay $15.30 for well packed and insured USPS Ground (this is an estimated savings of about $2 to $5 since insurance & tracking are also INCLUDED in the above quoted amount for all mainland US addresses). A faster shipping option is also available, too (see shipping section below for USPS Priority Mail option). No handling or packing fees are ever charged and fragile items will be double packed for maximum protection. All international buyers will pay only the exact shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the continental US mainland. Insurance against loss or damage is not available on International First Class Parcels (limited to 4 lbs maximum weight), International Economy shipping and some International Priority Shipping. The International buyer will be asked to acknowledge this fact or upgrade to an International shipping option with insurance against loss or damage (email us for an insured International shipping quote). We have shipped fragile items to 26 countries around the globe to date and have not had any items lost or broken, however this fact does not guarantee that no postal mishandling will ever occur in the future. Also, please note that International import duties, taxes and other charges are not included in the item price or shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce certain import taxes should your country allow such petitions for items over 100 years old. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques Ruby Lane listings -- please refer directly to our Service Pledge and our Return Policy for full details. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with the purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within ten days of original receipt for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we double pack, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary (we have not had any claims for damage or loss in over seven years). Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help and we will gladly assist.
PAYMENT OPTIONS: We accept checks on US Banks (no temporary checks, all checks must have 9 digit routing code; item ships after check fully clears), USPS money orders, PayPal, or contact us with your verified address for more options. If you wish to use a credit card by way of PayPal, that option becomes available after you submit a Ruby Lane purchase order (see Terms of Sale for additional information). Once submitted, a PayPal icon will appear at the bottom of this listing and then you may proceed from there if you wish to pay via PayPal. Thanks for looking and do come back and visit again when you have the time.