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    Description

    A SUPERB WASHOE POLYCHROME COILED JAR WITH LID, #62
    Louisa Keyser (Dat-so-la-lee)

    c. 1918



    woven of willow, redbud, and bracken fern root, decorated with columns of diamond motifs, the uppermost "hooked" beneath the rim, surmounted by a fitted lid, similarly decorated, with loop handle, old tag affixed to the base, inscribed LK #62, May 20th, 1918, 157

    Accompanied by the following unsigned letter, presumably written by Abe Cohn:

    The Mad Basket
    Carson City, Nevada
    December 4th, 1918

    Dear Madam,

    Knowing your interest in the great Washoe Indian basket weaver, we would like to call your attention to her last masterpiece. It is especially appealing not only for its graceful vase-shape, but because it exemplifies the fact that we have always endeavored to impress on people, that each basket a weaver constructs illustrates some fact or history in their life. When Dat-So-La-Lee commenced the base of this article #62 L-K, she was in despair as all Indians become reckless when in trouble, it is faultily constructed, coarsely woven, and discolored: so our criticisms as to its "being unworthy of her proficiency, nor as good as the old camp-Indians could do. Her answer was - "I don't care" In this mood she evolved about one half of this basket, as her trouble lightened and she became reconciled to the result, she improved the technique and finished it in her famous manor, she also made a cover for it which is a most marvelous piece of handcraft; When completed she brought it in to Mrs. Cohn, who refused to accept it, pointing out its defects. Dat-So-La-Lee surprised and wounded acknowledged its imperfections, and proudly displayed its progress to perfection, its finishing, and from under her shawl, drew out the cover saying, "We bad, some of the basket bad, We good now, we put all bad in basket, cover up quick; no more bad now, We good all the time now" acting out her words.

    The episode this basket portrays is this. On February 21st, 1905, Charlie Keyser, the husband of Dat-So-La-Lee was arrested by the Federal Officials for selling whiskey to Indians and incarcerated in the Ormsby County Jail to await trial by the Federal Grand Jury. The penalty for this offense is usually a term of imprisonment at McNeil's. He was tried and convicted by the Federal Jury, and sentenced by a lenient Judge to 3 months confinement in the Washoe County Jail. While Keyser was in the local Jail and during his trial she grieved and plead with every one that would listen to her. She realized the gravity of his crime, but believed that if the usual punishment was imposed that her poor old man would not survive it; though assuming that he should not be punished, the light sentence imposed, comforted her. It was during his term and absence she produced #62 L-K.

    The body of this masterpiece is woven of White Calix, which is already developing a rich golden tinge. The design is diamond shaped figures, one of the Washoe symbols for men. In the bark of the brilliant red of the Cercis-Occidentalls, outlined with a thin line of the black Pterris-Aquilinie.

    Height: 13 ½ inches

    For more information, please click here.


    Estimate: $400,000 - $600,000.

    Condition Report*: In overall excellent condition. No breaks or tears to rods or stitches. Colors vibrant. Top surface with minor soiling. Very faint pink hue to some of the stitches on the base. No apparent restoration.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    September, 2009
    19th Saturday
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