Museum open Weds–Mon, Sea Center open daily. Hours 10:00 AM–5:00 PM

Coil Basket

I would like to know if this basket is Native American made, or is a tourist trade knock-off.  If my pictures are not adequate, or you need more information, please let me know.

Roger, Arroyo Grande - March 15, 2023

Curator Response

Hi Roger,

Thank you for including these photos from two angles, with scale. Although there’s no substitute for seeing a basket in person, they are helpful.

Based on your photos, I think this is one of many imitation Native American baskets that are made in Nigeria and Pakistan, using Native-American-inspired designs with plant materials that are available in those areas, particularly palm leaves. Interestingly, I have seen baskets like this for sale in Indian-run gift stores at pueblos in the Southwest, presumably in the hope that buyers will (wrongly) assume they were locally Native-made. Sometimes Southwestern retailers are explicit about the origin, as you can see here online. They’re perfectly fine, well-made baskets, much more affordable than authentic Native American work.


Curator Emeritus of Ethnography Jan Timbrook, Ph.D.