round drum shaped box with birch bark body; flat cover decorated with daisy-type floral motif in white and white with brown-tipped quills; body of box decorated with vertical white quills

Box with floral motif on cover, 20th century

Lorraine Besto and daughters

Plant fibers, birch bark, porcupine quills

Gift of Raymond A. and Ruth A. Reister 2016.76.12a,b

On View in Gallery 281

The Anishinaabe woman artist who created this intricately adorned and finely woven basket utilized locally harvested porcupine quills, birchbark, and sweetgrass. Artists often incorporated abstraction into their work, layering quills in complex patterns and forms that reveal both technical mastery and artistic ingenuity. For more than two hundred years, Anishinaabe women sold many of their birchbark containers and baskets to non-Native people to sustain their families during a time of major cultural disruption, including forced assimilation and removal onto governmental and religious controlled reservations. Quillboxes exemplify the power of Anishinaabe women to create a new and unique artform that expresses cultural and individual resiliency and creativity.

Image: In Copyright. Gift of Raymond A. and Ruth A. Reister

Unexpected Turns: Women Artists and the Making of American Basket Weaving Traditions

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