Jicarilla Apache Water Bottle

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This Jicarilla Apache Water Bottle is 10 inches tall and probably was made around 1880, but the pattern and materials are almost timeless.

The lugs, both on one side, are made of horse hair. On the opposite side are two buckskin thongs, possibly for attachment to a burden strap to pass around the forehead. This arrangement would leave both of the user’s hands free when the basket was being carried. To make the basket waterproof, the whole jar was coated ~- inside with pinon pine pitch, which, in some places, is up to half an inch thick. Often such baskets were rubbed with powdered Juniper needles mixed with red ochre, both to help waterproof them and to impart a pleasing color. This example has a round, canvas patch stuck to the, bottom with pitch to protect that critical point from abrasion. This interesting basketry bottle, called a tus in Apache, was collected by Taos artist Joseph Henry Sharp.

Illustrated in Spirits in the Art, by James A. Hanson, pg-204

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