Nkosi Distinctive Imported Crafts LLC
NOTE: These are samples, please visit our Online Store to see the entire range of these crafts.
A beautifully hand-crafted work... inspires.
These beautiful handmade baskets in times past represented an integral part of Zulu culture. They traditionally have had a wide variety of uses both in household chores and for ceremonial purposes.
Zulu baskets are woven from the iLala palms and the color is obtained using natural dyes from bark, berries, leaves, clay, roots and dung, found in several areas within the Zulu's homeland province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Several types of baskets were commonly crafted: Isichumo baskets are used for carrying and storing water and only the more experienced weavers are able to make these baskets. Large Ukhamba baskets are used to store beer as the grass would swell with the moisture from the beer thus making the basket watertight. Isilulu baskets are not water-tight, and are used to store grains. Open baskets used for serving purposes are called Isisquabetho and Imbege baskets. Small well crafted baskets called herb baskets, or Iquutu baskets, are used to store herbs prescribed by the herbalist or Inyanga. They are not crafted to be water-tight as it is necessary that air circulate through the weave to keep the contents free from spoiling.
With the ever increasing introduction of manufactured enamels, metal and plastic utensils being incorporated into use by households, these baskets have all but disappeared from daily use.
As the young women of the Zulu Nation become more educated and entwined within 21st century South African society, the centuries old tradition of basket weaving as practiced by the older Zulu women, has taken on the patina of high-end handmade collectible crafts. As the number of basket weavers continue to decline, Zulu baskets are being sought after by collectors worldwide.