Enlarge Image
Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art

Previous Next Exhibit Page Home Search
Record 760/826
Copyright New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, NY
Object ID T0759
Object Name Basket
Description Medium/Materials: Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), redbud (Cercis occidentalis) and sedge root; Technique: Coiled Marks: [1] Written in black ball point ink on a white rectangular label: "255 Britches geometric" [2] Also written in black ball point ink on a piece of masking tape: "255" (Removed from conservation reasons and located in file).;
Artist Topino, Mary Dick
Early Date 1900
Late Date 1923
Place of Origin Dunlap, Fresno County, CA, USA
People Wukchumne Yokuts/
Provenance (1) Butterfield & Butterfield. San Francisco, California. 1989-1990; (2) Natalie Linn. Portland, Oregon.; (3) Eugene V. Thaw. 22 August 1998;
History Scholarly Attributions: Craig Bates - October 1998 - "It is important to consider the unfinished basket hanging on the wall in the historic photograph of Mrs. Chappo, Mrs. Mary Topino and Maw'-mutch. Fine baskets ascribed to Mary Dick Topino (Mrs. Britches) seem to show up with regularity among Indian art dealers; perhaps this style of basket may have been produced by one family, rather than by one woman. It seems reasonable to assume that Cha-dah taught her daughters to weave. Perhaps her daughter, Mary Dick Topino, wove in the same style as her mother and sister, and their work would be difficult to differentiate. In conclusion, it appears that the basket in the Thaw Collection was most likely made by Mary Dick Topino (Mrs. Britches), although it is possible that it could have been made by her mother or sister. Without firmly documented baskets, with dates of collection and maker's names and full collection histories, it is impossible to know for certain. As to a date of manufacture, I would think sometime between 1890 and the maker's death in 1923. Few fancy baskets, showing no signs of native use and of exquisite workmanship, were collected prior to 1890 and the subsequent growth of the basket collecting fad. It would seem unlikely that a basket of this type would have been woven prior to the 1890s, and kept immaculate and unused by its maker. Too, the crosses appear to be Christian in form, and may well be in response to the establishment of at least two Christian mission schools near North Fork and Dunlap after 1900. Indeed, could this basket have been made for one of the Methodist missionaries at the Squaw Valley mission school? In any event, it would seem that a date of 1900-1923 is reasonable for the basket's manufacture." "Also identifies her names as Kee-nay-witch, Kee-nay-what, He-na-wah, Kin-han-wits, Ha'-na'-wut and Ha-na-wut."
Used Wukchumne Yokuts
For access to this image, contact the Registrar, Fenimore Art Museum, (607) 547-1444.

Last modified on: March 02, 2006