Native Designs


Unique to the Nipmuc people, were first painted during the early 1800's. Vases were painted on Nipmuc baskets by the Arnold family who lived at Hassanimisco, near Grafton, Massachusetts. Nipmucs also began using different colors at this time, blue instead of brown, either for particular buyers or because that paint was easier to get. Though older designs were still painted, the floral vase design had great commercial appeal to European buyers, as well as traditional meaning to Nipmucs. The 'tree of life' is represented by flowers made from curls and leaves growing from a medallion-like vase.
"The construction of a family tradition of vase painting on baskets…, would suggest the growing importance of kin networks in Native American societies" (Handsman & McMullen)
Lid of Splint Storage Basket with Vase Motif
Lid of Splint Storage Basket with Vase Motif

Native Designs - Bars Article Acknowledgements