A polychrome Mono Lake Paiute pictorial basket woven by Emma Murphy

First-quarter 20th Century; Yosemite, California
Coiled bowl with alternating insects and frog motifs under a polychrome zigzag rim and floral base
4" H x 8.25" Dia.

  • Provenance: Minnie Randolph Bishop Collection, USA
    Sale: Sotheby, Parke-Bernet, New York, "Green Collection," May 25, 1972, Lot 75
    The Robert "Trader Bob" Bayuk Collection, deaccessioned 2012
    The James M. Cole Collection, Visalia, CA
  • Notes: From a letter by Craig Bates, the former Curator of Ethnography at the Yosemite Museum writes about Emma Murphy and this basket: "Emma Murphy was born Emma Jim, the daughter of Captain and Patsy Jim, in the late 1860s or early 1870s near Mono Lake. She was a sister of Tina and Nellie Charlie...I know of very few documented baskets woven by Emma Murphy. In 1912, when Estella Falla worked in Nelson Salter's Yosemite Store and purchased baskets from local Indian women, she remarked that Emma's weaving was '"...a close second." to Lucy Telles'. Although her weaving career was relatively short, her work must have been exceptional to have been so rated by Estella Falla...The use of realistic animal patterns was, apparently, favored by Emma Murphy. The bat-like creatures on the basket in the Yosemite Museum collection are not as precisely executed as the animals on your basket. Since the basket in the Yosemite Museum was collected in 1912 or 1913, I'd think that yours was collected sometime later since your animals are more neatly made...As near as we can ascertain, Emma Jim Murphy died in late 1925...Your basket is a fine example of the weaving of the Yosemite-Mono lake region, and a rare example of the work of a weaver who died at the height of her creativity."
  • Condition: Overall good condition with dust accumulation and wear commensurate with age and use.

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March 15, 2022 10:00 AM PDT
Monrovia, CA, US

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