A group of woven baskets on display.


Discover a collection of baskets from Southwest American Indian cultures as well as cultures of California, the Great Basin and the Northwest.

The Basketry Collection

Baskets are among the earliest containers used in the West, predating pottery. They often served as basic containers for food gathering and preparation, and some baskets were even made to hold liquids. In Arizona, groups such as the Western Apache coated baskets with pitch and used them as water bottles.

Basket making for utilitarian purposes was impacted in the early 1900s by the commercial manufacture of containers. Afterward, baskets were woven primarily to be sold to collectors.

Materials for American Indian baskets, whether the basket is utilitarian or woven to be sold, are harvested from growing plants. A basket maker needs to know where the useful plants are located, how and when to harvest them and how to prepare the fibers.

Basketry Collection Highlights

  • A woven vase with geometric designs on it.
    Artist once known, Apache, Basket, early 1900s. Heard Museum purchase, NA-SW-Ap-B-9
  • A woven basket with black and white designs.
    Annie Antone, Tohono O’odham, b. 1955, Basket, 2001. Heard Museum purchase, 4106-1
  • A woven basket with an eagle on it.
    Artist once known, Hopi, Basket, early 1900s. Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection, 25BA
  • A basket with black and brown designs on it.
    Alice Woris, Pomo, 1845-1914, Basket, c. 1900. Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection, 525BA
  • A brown basket with a handle on a white background.
    Artist once known, Apache, Basketry water bottle, c. 1836. Gift of Juanita Marie Loco
  • A woven basket with a black and brown design on it that depict different animals.
    Artist once known, Akimel O’otham, Basket, c. 1900. Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection, 175BA
  • A corset made out of rattan and twigs.
    Lisa Telford, Haida, b. 1957, A Night on the Village, 2004. Heard Museum purchase, 4303-1
  • A basket made of rattan and wood.
    Terrol Dew Johnson, Tohono O’odham, b. 1973, Basket, 2007 Heard Museum purchase, 4470-1
  • A woven basket with a colorful design on it.
    Sally Black, Diné, b. 1959, How Coyote Put the Stars in the Sky, c. 2015. Gift of Drs. William G. and Kathleen L. Howard, 5012-1
  • A star shaped wicker bowl on a white background.
    Ramona Lubo, Cahuilla/Payómkawichum, 1847-1922, Basket, c. 1913. Heard Museum purchase, NA-CB-Ms-B-13
  • A brown and black woven vase on a white background.
    Artist once known, Apache, Basket, c. 1900. Heard Museum purchase, NA-SW-Ap-B-6

About the Heard Museum Art Collections

The Heard Museum art collection concentrates on the lives of Native peoples and consists of more than 45,000 objects. The two focal areas of the collection are comprehensive cultural collections from the Greater Southwest and contemporary native fine art from North America. Key collections include Hopi katsina dolls; Navajo and Zuni jewelry, Navajo textiles, Southwestern ceramics from prehistory to the present and baskets from the Southwest, California, the Great Basin and the Northwest. The approximately 4,000 fine art works in the Heard Museum collection document the American Indian Fine Art Movement from the 20th century to the present, and include work by some of the finest historic and contemporary American Indian artists.

An archway leading to a courtyard with a fountain.

See Baskets on View at the Heard Museum

Explore 12 galleries of American Indian art and exhibitions and see what’s on view from our collection.