Salish Storage Trunk with Lid


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This trunk was made using a Salish Wicker technique. The trunk has been stained a deep brown, allowing the various materials to blend into one uniform color. A hexagonal pattern has been woven into the sides for decoration, one side featuring the silhouette of a woman in dark red paint within the centermost hexagon. The dimensions of the basket measure 22” x 12” x 10”, with similar measurements given to the trunk’s lid, allowing it to fit snugly over the basket. The Salish handcrafted style is brilliant, and is seen in the trunk’s sturdiness, as well as the uniformity of its shape.

The Salish people, a blend of various tribes characterized by a linguistic uniformity, resided across the region of the Pacific Northwest. The four major groups were the Coast Salish, Bella Coola, Interior Salish, and Tsamosan. These groups were further divided into subgroups based on their Salishan dialect, which were over two dozen in number. A defining cultural artform of the Salish people was their expert weaving. They were known to craft blankets or clothing out of various animal down, fur, and wool, decorating these items with intricate patterns. The more notable weaving technique used by Salish tribes, however, was their implementation of Wicker. Salish Wicker characteristically combined plant fibers, namely from cedar, with various animal fibers to create baskets, mats, and other such items. With the invention of ways to produce these items at a cheaper cost via machines, Salish Weaving largely fell out of fashion until the 1970s, when the artform experienced a revival and even gained a guild in its name. The designs implemented into Salish woven items commonly feature very geometrical patterns, such as line-work, squares, triangles, and hexagons.

Item #: 0015