Basket with Dentalium Shell
and Nuu-chul-nuth weavers developed a thriving cottage industry
making “trinket” baskets in the early nineteenth century. They sold their goods to crewmen of halibut schooners, and other visitors. This basket, filled with dentalia shells, symbolizes the range of the Nez Perce trade network that stretched from the Pacific coast into the northern Great Plains. It was collected by John Alley, a physician who worked among various northwestern Indian Tribes during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The basket is made with wrapped twine of beargrass over cedar foundation and the base is plaited.
Dentalia shells (Dentalium pretosium); Basket. cedar (Thuja plicata), beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax). H 6, D 9 cm
Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 1784