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Zulu People African Basket Weaving Art

African Basket Weaving.

Zulu people Ilala Palm basket weaving is an ancient, exacting, time-consuming process. Traditional Zulu Ilala Palm basket weaving technique styles are Imbenge, Isichumo, Isiquabetho and Ukhamba.

  African Basket Weaving Art

Zulu People African Basket Weaving Art

All About Original Zulu People African Basket Weaving Art

Ukhamba African Zulu baskets are decorative and colorful bulb shaped container, made watertight by the tautness of the weave.
Ukhamba African Zulu basket

As with most aspects of African culture, the specifics of basket weaving and the woven baskets themselves embody spiritual as well as aesthetic and practical qualities. Although basketry materials, techniques, and uses have varied among tribal cultures and have changed over time, baskets are the oldest handmade vessels used by African peoples and one of the most ancient of art forms. 

Although basket making has become obsolete in some tribes with the passage of time, nearly every indigenous group throughout Africa has utilized basketry at some point: whether for food preparation and storage, as animal and fishing traps, to transport goods for sacred and ceremonial purposes.

Traditional Zulu Ilala Palm basket weaving technique styles are Imbenge, Isichumo, Isiquabetho and Ukhamba. 

Imbenge A small, saucer-shaped bowl traditionally woven with Ilala palm and grass fibers used as a platter or a lid. Isichumo Baskets have a tight firm weave with a bottle-shaped used for carrying liquids. Isiquabetho Baskets are large bowl shaped baskets used for gathering and carrying harvested foods and everyday materials. Ukhamba Baskets are decorative and colorful bulb shaped container, made watertight by the tautness of the weave.

Isiquabetho African Zulu baskets are large bowl shaped baskets used for gathering and carrying harvested foods and every day materials.
Isiquabetho African Zulu basket

For many Zulu Ilala Palm basket makers, the finished baskets are living metaphors of Zulu African people’s connection to the earth and to the seasonal cycles of life that influence the rules governing the harvesting and preparation of the organic materials used to make Zulu Ilala Palm baskets. 

The Ilala Palm grows along the North Eastern Coast of KwaZulu-Natal in Southern Africa. Once cut and dried, the leaf is then prepared for weaving into fine, often watertight baskets. In African cultures, baskets represent functional art with a story that continues to be told.
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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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