Cahuilla Sandals: Construction Method

Cahuilla Sandals: Construction Method

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Image 1:  A pair of Cahuilla sandals from Agua Caliente Cultural Museum collections


Image 2: X-ray of one of the Cahuilla sandals

These two woven sandals are made from plant materials with cordage laces and skin (possibly leather) straps.  According to the museum records, the sandals were found inside an olla along with a deer hoof rattle on a shelf in a cave in Coyote Canyon by Harry Bergman in 1932.  They were then on display at the Bergman Museum until its closure in 1993.  In 2007, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum purchased the sandals from Harry Bergman's grandson.

The construction methods used to create the sandals was discovered by using X-radiography.


Based on the X-ray (Image 2), the sandal can be differentiated into three construction zones: the wrapped toe area (blue), the loose double weave of the center of the sandal (no color added), and the tight single weave used for the back of the sandal (pink).  The cordage used as an internal support can also be seen (yellow).  The details on the top show how the skin straps (brown) were attached.