Baskets - Is This Basket a Fake?
As I track auctions and sales
for opportunities to collect interesting baskets I have come across examples of
high and low quality reproductions as well as known fakes, frauds, forgeries,
rip offs, misrepresentations, deceptive marketing and common cases of mistaken identity in the field of basketry. Study
the following pages if you want to be armed against being taken advantage of by
individuals who are knowingly misrepresenting baskets as something they are not
as well as those who are ignorant of the origins of the item they are offering
for sale. As a basket collector you are advised to live by the rule....
Caveat emptor - "Let The
Nigerian Coiled Grass Basket Bowls Mistaken for Southwest Baskets
Baskets coiled by the Hausa people of Nigeria in western African are frequently
mistaken for or misrepresented as southwestern Native American Indian baskets.
Chinese Prisoner Baskets are NOT Native American Sweetgrass Baskets
This type of basket is made in
China of a common grass that grows there and is exported/imported around the world by the hundreds of thousands. They
have become a type of virus that has infected the basket collecting world. They
were/are sold in nesting sets of round, oval, square, hexagonal and octagonal shapes in
natural and several colors (Christmas colors are popular). It was one of the
first items to flood this country when trade opened with China in the Nixon Era.
This is NOT an American Indian sweetgrass basket.
Report a Violation
of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act
The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a
truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of Indian
arts and crafts products within the United States. It is illegal to offer or
display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely
suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a
particular Indian or Indian Tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization,
resident within the United States. If you suspect that this law is being
violated by someone selling baskets you may report them to the Indian Arts and
Crafts Board (IACB) using the simple form on their site. Anonymous reports are
Is It Old *OR* Is It
reproduction Shaker style ash splint baskets and
Appalachian style baskets from a variety of vendors because they are turning up in lots of places as is,
"aged" and with newly painted primitive finishes. In and of itself
this is fine if the baskets are properly attributed, but secondary market
vendors are describing them vaguely in ways that could be mistaken by naive
buyers as vintage baskets. Read descriptions carefully. In the case of the
Shaker reproductions the scarce ash timber is being
shipped from New England to China and the baskets are woven by Chinese workers.
The Appalachian facsimiles are woven in Haiti using some local material other
than the authentic material, white oak. Make yourself familiar with products
like these, so you know what you are looking at
in shops and online auctions or vendors and don't end up believing a knock-off, cheap replica,
counterfeit, forgery or fake is the real thing. BUYER BEWARE!
Gullah Basketmakers Face Stiff Competition from Knockoffs
Charleston's sweetgrass basketmakers are finding it difficult to compete with
baskets made in China. Lowcountry sweetgrass basket "sewers" are concerned about
cheap knockoffs from abroad. This article includes tips about some of the
telltale characteristics of an import so that collectors can recognize the
difference between the two.
This section is under
development. I am aware of numerous types of basket that are commonly involved
in cases of misrepresentation, deceptive marketing or mistaken identity. I will add new pages as time
allows. If you know of a type of basket that is commonly mistaken or
misrepresented as something it is not and you would like to let the basket
collecting community about it, please let me know so that I can build a new page
to help keep basket collectors informed. Stop back often to see what has been
"So many fakes, so little time."
Come and Join
in the BasketMakers
Forum. Lots of friendly basketweavers are gathered there. Click
to enter and read-only or join if you want to post (it's free).
Here is a list of some of the most recent Topics being discussed:
Susi Nuss. All rights reserved.