Nantucket Lightship Shopping Basket
1971 Paul F. Whitten Born: North Easton, Massachusetts 1908 Died: Nantucket, Massachusetts 1997 rattan, oak, ivory, and metal 13 x 14 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (33.0 x 37.4 x 26.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1975.143 Not currently on view
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Paul Whitten crafted this sturdy rattan basket after the style of the Nantucket lightship basket, one of the most popular and widely recognized regional styles of basketry in the world. The lightship basket originated in the nineteenth century, woven by crew members manning lightships off the coast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, to occupy their months-long sojourns at sea. Whitten refers to his creations as "friendship baskets," because of the close relationships that form through the intimate nature of customizing a basket for each customer. This work is one of two thousand Whitten made before retiring at the age of eighty.
Crafts - Fiber
plant material - rattan
wood - oak