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African Basket Bowl Shaped Botswana African Art

Regular Price: $250.00

Special Price: $150.00

Product #: 64548
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Title African Basket Bowl Shaped Botswana African Art
Type of Object Basket
Country of Origin Botswana
People UNknown, probably Bayei or Hambukushu
Materials vegetal Fibers
Approximate Age 1970s
Dimensions 12 inches diameter x 3.5 inches deep
Overall Condition Very Good.  Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.

Additional Information: A bowl shaped basket from Botswana with Superb  design patterns!

This basket from Botswana is very similar to these from the Zulu of South Africa. As for the Zulu, the tradition of making basket is known in Botswana for a very long time and is still alive today and even more diversified in term of style, size, and decoration. The creativity of people from Botswana has reached its apex with these timeless baskets today overlooked as pieces worth collecting. Making baskets is an activity exclusively reserved to women, particularly the women from Bayei and  Hambukushu ethnic groups. Theses stunning basket are made from palm tree fibers. This palm tree, called Mokola is found along the Okavango area. The technique and process of fabrication are very complex. It can take up to a month to produce a medium sized basket.  Every basket is made by hand, using indigenous raw materials mainly fibers from the Mokola palm. Reeds or straws are  used to ensure the strength of the basket. Then, the basket would hold its shape and it would be hard to be compressed. 

The leaves of the Mokola palm are split with the fingers, soaked, and dried in the sun. Dyes are obtained using  roots and barks of local trees, and some special leaves. These roots , barks or leaves would be finely chopped. Water would be added, and the grasses to be dyed would be boiled in this mixture and then dried in the sun. The designs are created to weaving strips of dyed palm fibers in places according to the patterns being created. Designs are taken basically from traditional repertoire. More recently innovative patterns have been added, making these baskets more and more desirable.The process of coiling  depends from one artist to another. Usually it starts with a hole pierced into the woven row with an awl at the centre of the base. In this hole  a strip of palm would be inserted and wrapped around the core. Coils would be added, overlapping the previous ones to created curved or vertical side.Strips are put together in a rigid bulb shaped container, rendered water-tight by the tightness of the weave/coils.

The art of making basket has became one of the most lucrative activities for women in Botswana  as well as in Zimbabwe and South Africa. It has became  the main source of income for many women. Thus more of these baskets are today produced  for commercial purpose. Traditionally such baskets were made to fill some household needs. Lidded baskets were used as a storage for grains or as a beer basket to store local sorghum beer. Large open or bowl-shaped baskets served to carry foodstuffs on head and medium or small open bowl were used for winnowing grain or for serving food.

Recommended Reading:

Bryan Sentance, Art of the Basket. Traditional Basketry From Around The World, Thames & Hudson, London, 2001

Ed Rossbach, Basket as Textile Art, Studio Vita, London, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Johannesburg

I have examined this piece and agree with the description.

Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.