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Mary Adams

Wedding Cake Basket
1986
sweetgrass and ash splint
25 1/2 x 15 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr.

Mary Adams, an Iroquois Indian, made Wedding Cake Basket in 1986 for the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary of one of her children. Four layers rise in a conical pyramid ending in a bell-shaped top crowned by arches that support two bells. Her masterpiece weaves the western European ritual of the wedding cake with splint basket making practiced by the Iroquoian peoples since the late eighteenth century. With its prominent spiral projections, the work's surface texture suggests the luscious cream frosting covering the most elaborate ceremonial wedding confections.