Basket caps

The Phoebe Hearst Museum at UC Berkeley, California, has a large collection of baskets and other artifacts collected in western Oregon by Agnes Sengstacken.  Among them are several Coos Bay and Siuslaw baskets.  When Melville Jacobs worked with Annie Peterson in 1933 and 1934 he showed her some black and white photos of the baskets, and she made a few comments about some of them.

Here is a Coos bay style cap, 2-13261 in the museum catalog:


The Coos Bay caps are a little taller than those made on the Coquille river south to northern California.  Annie said that the style is known in Hanis and Milluk as tlp’óla (another Milluk word for them is shap’ála).  She wasn’t sure of most of the design names but the one along the edge was tlúk’shi, scallop design.

Here is a second Coos Bay tl’póla/shap’ála cap, 2-13260:

Jonathan Oligmueller

Jonathan Oligmueller

The other style of cap, known in both Coos languages as pashtála, were made on the Coquille River and on south.  Annie said sometimes women bought or traded with southern women for caps.  2-13239 is a pashtála type cap:


Photos are from the Phoebe Hearst catalog.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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3 Responses to Basket caps

  1. This is great, beginning the connect the pieces of scattered literature, an excellent project!

  2. Shirod says:

    I’ve been wondering why there is hardly any notes or examples on men’s basket hats in Coos Bay….or in general Western Oregon and Northern California. Very seldom do you see pictures or examples. I’m figuring a woman “needs” multiple hats (and it probably helps that she can make them and trade them)….as a man will be given a hat and will wear that one hat until it disintegrates or he’s buried in his only hat. but makes me wonder…none the less.

    • shichils says:

      I haven’t seen much either. I recall a comment about men’s hats being a “shag” (cormorant) hide. However, once Lottie said women usually wore tlp’óla but sometimes men wore them. Then there is another Hanis word (I don’t know if it is same in Milluk but it may be) bitlbe’wos which is general for hat and men’s hat.

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