There is a story behind this basket.
There is a really nice old man I know near Mountain City, TN who has a huge barn full of everything he's collected the past 75 years. Every spring, I catch up with him. He wont let anyone go into his barn, but he goes in there and digs out baskets and other things for me. He wants me to keep coming back, so he will only sell me a few baskets every spring. I do not barter with him on the price. I usually pay him more than what he asks because I know there's dozens of people who will snatch them if I don't. For the past 5 years, he whips out the oldest Appalachian baskets I've seen in 40 years and more old Cherokee baskets than I can shake a stick at.
I told him this basket was Cherokee and he said he never went to Cherokee, NC to buy baskets. He traded with people who were Cherokee Indian in northeast TN over the decades. I wont even go into the kids that dig in the streams in Trade, TN and what they find; heaven have mercy!
This 1920s or 1930s old Cherokee basket is a precious find. When I bought it, it still had hay and the remnants of chicken poop in the hay. It was almost a part of the basket itself. It was sitting like that for half a century or more. I brought it home and very carefully resigned to spend hours to bring the basket back to life, and oh what a surprise!
I adore this basket. It has no describable shape. It is sort or triangular with rounded corners. It is not only oak splint, but it is 4 stained shades of splint in medium dark oak, honey oak, light reddish oak, and blue. I was pleasantly shocked an amazed at the condition as it is nearly 100% perfect like the day it was made. The patina is superb and if you look closely, there is still some fine remnants of chicken hay that created a patina on the inside bottom. That aspect, I love. Someone else would have bleached the whole thing out and ruined it. No one would have ever known that this basket carried thousands of chicken eggs.
The only imperfection in the caning I can find is the large round splint around the top rim. One corner is about half split. All of the bottom corners inside and out are perfect as well as all the sides and bottom inside and out. The handle is good and strong as well.
The basket is about 8" tall with the handle. The basket portion is about 8" wide x 5" tall. This basket was cleaned strictly with a mixture I make that is a combination of lemon oil, orange oil, and beeswax. All 100% natural and fresh smelling.