Native American Baskets ???

Native American Baskets ???                                              2024.008.007

We received a donation of nesting baskets that were believed to have been sold on Main Street, Bolton Landing, N.Y. by Native Americans in the 1930’s.

In photographing the baskets for our Past Perfect Collection System, I noticed four coins attached to the largest basket that appeared to be Chinese.  I was trying to figure out what tribe may have made these baskets, so I contacted our old friend Melissa Otis who has done a lot of research on Native Americans in the Adirondacks. She responded that she couldn’t identify what tribe would have made the baskets. She recommended I try contacting the Akwesasne Cultural Center Collection in northern New York.

I emailed Marla Jacobs, Cultural Collections Manager at Akwesasne. She immediately got back to me and said they also had the exact same baskets which were on display for a long time. One day an Elder of the tribe came in and pointed out that the baskets were NOT Native American. They were actually  “Chinese Nesting Sewing baskets”.

I did some further research and found out these baskets were popular in China in the 1800’s, often filled with sewing notions and given to a bride as a wedding gift. Around 1880 they began to be exported to the United States in the thousands, some covered in adornments, others minimal, others plain.

They were woven from cane, grasses, rushes, willow, honeysuckle or bamboo.

These baskets were primarily made near Canton, Guangdong Province, and stayed popular in the U.S. until around 1930.  (Source: Green Witch Vintage & Handmade).


Chinese Sewing Baskets                                                          2024.008.007


So there you have the story behind the baskets. Google: “Chinese Sewing Baskets” for more information.

edited by Tom Lynch, Collections Manager

(c) 2024. Warren County New York Historical Society.

contact: [email protected]

Source:  Captain Thomas & Kathleen Conerty Collection  # 106

Warren County NY Historical Society, 50 Gurney Lane, Queensbury, NY 12804

Phone: 518-743-0734



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