We carry a wide range of traditional ilala palm Zulu baskets from South Africa. Most are Ukhamba baskets and some IMBENGE bowls and small ISICHUMO , which are among the best known quality handmade baskets in the world.
We carry three Zulu Basket Types.
IMBENGE - A small, saucer-shaped bowl traditionally woven with Ilala palm and grass fibres. Our modern version is woven by from telephone wire, resulting in a bright kaleidoscope of color and pattern and are very collectible. The imbenge is used as a platter for serving dried foods, as well as used upside down to function as a lid or cover for the clay beer pots. When not in use it is hung up on the wall of the hut as part of the décor.
UKHAMBA - A rigid, bulb shaped container, rendered water-tight by the tightness of the coil/weave and the material used (Ilala palm). When liquids (generally home-brewed beer) are introduced into the ukhamba, the pores swell, whilst the outside sweats, thus keeping the liquid cool by means of evaporation. These baskets are usually very decorative and colourful, particularly those made for ceremonial use.
ISICHUMO - A rigid, bottle-shaped basket used for carrying liquids, it often has a lid which fits over the neck like a cap. The same stitching technique is used as a Ukhamba and it works on the same principle.
Each Zulu basket is lovingly handcrafted in the northeast coastal area of Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa. All-natural fibers, materials and dyes are used to construct these unique treasures, one of a kind collectables.
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