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    Home / Zulu Grass Baskets

    Zulu Grass Baskets

    Zulu Grass Baskets

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    Zulu Grass Baskets
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    Basket weaving in KwaZulu Natal

    Every basket is made of indigenous raw materials. The fronds of the Ilala Palm (Hyphaene Coriacea) are commonly used to weave this fine, watertight basket taking up to 1 month to produce a medium-sized piece. Young girls follow in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers and by the time they reach their teens, they are fully conversant in the age-old art of Zulu Basketweaving. In harsh economic conditions, such a skill provides much-needed income for schooling and survival.


    Examples of Traditional Zulu basketry


    Zulu Baskets

    Ukhamba (Zulu Beer Basket) is a bulb-shaped container rendered watertight by the tightness of the coil-weave and generally used to serve sorghum Beer on ceremonial occasions.
    Isichumo is a rigid, bottle-shaped basket used for carrying liquids, it has a lid, which fits over the neck like a cap.AH_craft_250x250_rec_6
    Isiquabetho and Iqoma are open Bowls. The Isiquabetho is a large basin-shaped basket, traditionally used for gathering and carrying grain.
    Nut Bowls and OOPS Baskets (Out of the Ordinary Production System) are tiny bowls traditionally woven by the Zulu children, who are taught by their mothers to weave from as young as 5 years of age.
    Iqutu (Herb Baskets), The smallest of the Zulu baskets are not woven to be watertight, as they are used for the storage of dried herbs, for both culinary and medicinal use.

    Canisters, straight sided storage baskets, useful for trinkets and nick-nacks are a more recent adaptation of the Ukhamba, using the same materials and patterns
    Mbenge are small, saucer-shaped bowls used to cover clay Ukhamba in order to keep the beer insect and dust-free.

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