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Symmetry in Pacific Northwest Baskets

Native designs and cartesian coordinates

Since most native baskets are made up of rows and columns of roots or other materials, they make up a grid, like a Cartesian coordinate system. A Cartesian graph can be used to visualize basket decorative designs very well. It is also very easy to observe how symmetry works in the basket designs when we use a Cartesian graph to analyze them. Furthermore, we can use a Cartesian graph to create our own symmetrical patterns, whether they demonstrate reflection symmetry across one axis, across two axes, or rotational symmetry. Using the Basket Weaver software, you can apply a Cartesian graph to create patterns commonly seen in native basket designs, or create your own original designs.

cartesian gridbasket

(Image scanned from Paul, Frances. 1944. Spruce Root Basketry of the Alaska Tlingit. Lawrence, Kansas: Haskell Press.)

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