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Notes on the basketry database

Notes on the fields

Notes on the database

This basketry database is aimed primarily at basketmakers and artists, but it is hoped that it will also be of interest to museum professionals, and to members of the public.

The main purpose of the project is to identify the items in the Museum that have been made using basketry techniques, and to enhance the information about the methods of construction. In general, only those objects that can be easily seen are included, and 'string work' has not been included. However, sometimes these rules have been broken for a few 'not to be missed' items. There are also data on basketry tools and materials.

It is hoped that sufficient information has been included so as to allow the basket or object to be seen as a real thing: made by someone and used by someone. It is intended that the view of the object in the display cabinet will enable a visitor to the Museum to find the object with ease. At the same time, it is intended that this view will give the web-user a good idea of the object within its museum setting. Further information on each object can be accessed by clicking on the Pitt Rivers Museum accession number (see below).


Notes on the Fields
Below are brief explanations of the fields used in this database. Please e-mail Felicity Wood if further information is required.
Object type
There is a pop-up list on the search entry form. This has been kept simple, avoiding specialist terms or local names. It conforms to the Pitt Rivers Museum's key word list.

PRM Accession Number
This is the identifying number given to each object when it is accessioned (logged in) as part of the Pitt Rivers Museum's collection. The number is in three parts: the year of accession, the collection number, and, finally, the number of the object within that particular collection. For instance, when we see the accession number 2001.10.1, we know that the object was accessioned in the year 2001, that it was the tenth collection to be accessioned in that year, and it was the first item of that collection. Sometimes there is a fourth part to the accession number, for instance if a basket has a lid, but this is not needed in the search and has therefore not been included.

By clicking on the PRM accession number (top right-hand corner of the Basketry in the Pitt Rivers Museum object display page) one can access the appropriate page in the Museum's on-line object catalogue. This gives a horizontally arranged table view. Clicking on an item in the table view will give a vertically arranged form view.

By viewing the Museum's full database, information such as collector, donor, cultural group and date made may be obtained, if available. Often date made is not known and can only be said to be in or before the year of accession - ie the first part of the PRM accession number.

  • Floor of the Museum: i.e. Court (ground floor), Lower Gallery (first floor), or Upper Gallery (second floor).
  • Case name: Sometimes this is marked on or in the case.
                      Sometimes an appropriate name has been chosen.
  • Case number: The case numbers are usually visible at top left-hand corner. However, sometimes one number applies to a very long case in which case a 'panel number' (the pane of glass or door), counting from left to right, has also been ascribed. Note that, where possible, cases have been photographed with the doors open so the panel edges will not necessarily show in the picture of the display case. With some smaller cases the designation left-hand side (lhs), central, or right-hand side (rhs) after the case number has been given if it would help in locating the object.

Object description
A short description of the object.

A pop-up list on the search entry form is in preparation. The list on this basketry site will be made up of terms selected from the Pitt Rivers Museum's original pop-up list of processes with further additions. Please refer to Basketry techniques for explanations of these terms. Eventually there may also be some construction models or drawings, or even video clips.

This initial survey gives an overview rather than an in-depth analysis of the structures. Although there are several admirable systems of describing basketry, they require substantial study before they can be used effectively. It is hoped that the simple description, together with the photographs, will give a fair idea of the methods of construction.

A pop-up list on the search entry form is in preparation. Records of botanical names of plant materials used in basketry are not common. The notes on materials rely on the main catalogue and some educated guesses based on observation. Where there is any doubt, the word is followed by (?). Please refer to Basketry Materials for further information.

The longest dimension is given to the nearest cm. Where the objects have been taken off display it has been possible to measure the object directly. In some cases, records of measurements already existed in the Museum's catalogue. Sometimes it has been necessary to estimate the measurements. Sometimes an additional dimension is given.

Although a scale is not included in the photographs, in most cases a card with the accession number appears in the photograph of the whole object. This is printed in

36 point Arial bold

The pop-up list on the search entry form is consistent with that of the Pitt Rivers Museum. However, as continent and region are not included in this database there are a few necessary additions.

Cultural group
There is a pop-up list on the search entry form. The names of some of the more widely known cultural groups are included. Please check the Pitt Rivers Museum on-line objects catalogue if further information is required.

In most cases there is a picture of the object in its display case, a picture of the object off display, and at least one picture showing a detail or an alternative view. Clicking on a picture will give a larger version.

Other notes
Includes useful or interesting extra information not mentioned above.

Book references, photographs, etc. See Bibliography for full details of the publications quoted in this database.
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Current Impression: 4-oct-2004