Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Coiled Zambian Basket

11" dia. x 11" h w/o handle

This beautiful coiled basket was a gift from my aunt and uncle a few Christmases ago. A coworker of my aunt was going to Africa so she asked her if she would look for a basket for her nephew. The poor woman had to drag the basket all over her vacation, but according to my aunt she took it as a quest and had fun looking for and acquiring the basket. Somewhere I have a photo of her with the basket on safari. I thought it was inside the basket, but it isn't so I will have to track it down.

Here is what the note inside the basket said:
Makenge basket, hand-woven from the roots of the Makenge tree by the women of the Upper Zambezi River region of Zambia. Makenge baskets take about a week each to make and are used to harvest, winnow and store grain. A newlywed bride may be given several baskets by her in-laws, which she will eventually pass down to her children. Makenge baskets are very strong and durable which, if required, can be washed or scrubbed with no ill effect. Colors are obtained by boiling the roots in various barks.
The basket is definitely sturdy and well made. The lid fits on like Tupperware. As with all of my collection the only "use" the basket sees is as an art object. I don't intend to scrub the basket any time soon.


  1. It is a beauty and nope, I wouldn't scrub it either.

  2. That is gorgeous! I can't imagine taking an entire week to make a basket....those women must have supreme patience. It truly does look like a work of art.

  3. Juliana,

    We are spoiled in being able to go to the store to buy materials. While gathering your own "free" materials is great it does take a lot in time and labor to prepare them.