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Anti-Social Wild West Weaving

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Anti-Social Wild West Weaving
  • Description

    Sculpture representing range land fencing; made from twined, two strand antique steel wire incorporating numerous four point barbs. Two scraps of printed calico are attached.

  • Producer name

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 2000 (circa)
  • Production place

    • Made in: Scappoose
    • (Americas,North America,United States of America,Oregon,Columbia County,Scappoose)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 51 centimetres
    • Width: 69 centimetres
    • Depth: 4.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Pivotal inventions changed the history of the United States. One such was Eli Whitney's cotton gin of the 1790s which led to the revival of the plantation system in the south; others included Colt's revolver and McCormack's harvesters. Simplest and perhaps most far reaching was perhaps barbed wire: most successfully patented by Joseph F. Glidden of DeKalb, Illinois in 1874. This enabled the prairies to be simply fenced for cattle and private property against communal ranching, Indians and buffalo. At issue was and is access to country food, wild sources of subsistence. In the Pacific Northwest blue camass - the bulb of a lily provided a staple - harvested in vast quantities from communal grounds - until that is meadows were enclosed by barbed wire. The sculpture expresses then the ending of easy access to wild foods - by peoples known in the western states perjoratively as diggers. (J.C.H. King)

    Courtney Gold - a member of the Wasco Nation, part of the Warm Springs Confederated Tribes, Oregon - is most well known for the making of "Sally Bags" and for her importance in the revival of the almost lost technique of full turn twining while incorporating geometric designs unique to the Wasco tribe. In addition to traditional basketry she produses print works and wall hangings using mixed media such as copper sheets, wires, linoleum, wall paper and re-cycled plastic bags.

    The artist has adapted the same technique of two strand twining - using antique wire, incorporating four point barbs - as used in part for twined bags.Twined bags were used for collecting camas bulbs, a staple in the Plateau region of Western America. The scraps of dress caught in the wire symbolise the great hardship caused by enclosure of formerly communal lands restricting access to meadows to collect camas bulbs - a proccess that began with the removal of bison/buffalo on the Plains and, with the invention of barbed wire, the fencing off of cattle ranges in the 1870s.

    The Wasco Nation is known for twined baskets (called Sally Bags) with unique geometric human designs and animal motifs. Unfortunately, the move to the reservation broughtabout hardship and cultural genocide. The past three generations focussed on survival.

    Artist'e statement: "I graduated from college with a degree in Mathematics. I taught mathematics and worked as a mathematician-computer specialist for 15 years. In 1991, I helped revive the technique of full turn twining. I gave up my technical career and am now committed to researching and preserving the unique geometric designs. In addition to basketry, I teach weaving workshop-s and I give lectures on Plateau and Wasco Tribe's cultural heritage.

    "My work honours the traditional weaving techniques handed down from my ancestors. I experiment with fibres, colours and textures to emphasize the beautiful designs. Cultures are dynamic and my work also reflects my views of the contemporary 1990s".


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    2009-2011 1 May- 13 Jan, BM, Gallery 2, 'Continuity and Change: cultural dynamism in the modern world'
    2015 - 2016 4 Dec - 03 Jul, National Museum of Singapore, Treasures of the World's Cultures

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Purchased from an exhibition of work by Pat Courtney Gold (b 1939) at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N Interstate Avenue, Portland Oregon, U.S.A, with funds donated by the Sosland Family, Kansas City.

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


Sculpture representing range land fencing; made from twined, two strand antique steel wire incorporating numerous four point barbs. Two scraps of printed calico are attached.



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Object reference number: ENA64881

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