Tutsi Basket

Tutsi Basket from Rwanda woven by women who learn to weave these beautiful baskets at the hand of their mothers and grandmothers.
Tribe: Tutsi

Origin: Rwanda

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Sisal leaf fibers

Dimensions cm: 23 x 12

Ref. Number: 1611


Tutsi baskets are intricately woven from fibres harvested from the sisal leaf, used as a storage vessel with a finely geometric detailed pattern in a dyed contrast colour medium. This beautiful delicate intricately woven Tutsi basket has an age that is visible from the colouration of the woven fibres. These stunningly beautiful hand-crafted baskets have been a part of the Rwandan culture for centuries serving as home décor, wedding gifts, baby welcoming gifts, and storage containers.

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The Tutsi people of Rwanda are renowned for the beautiful intricate woven baskets known as Tutsi Baskets. The delicate tiny weave of these baskets is completely incredible. Such skill required to create this basketry work of art. Among the Tutsi elite, basketry-related tasks were gender-specific. Men were responsible for building dwellings, granaries, fences, and other large-scale fibre-based structures. Women created more refined woven artefacts, such as floor mats, baskets, and wall panels. The skill of weaving such a delicate tight weave tiny baskets is a skill passed down from grandmother to mother and mother to daughter. Basketry weaving was a communal activity that occurred during recreational evening gatherings. Accompanied by the sound of music performed by a Tutsi harpist, women dedicated their time to embroidery and bead-making as well as basketry. Decorative architectural elements such as woven basketry “tapestries,” space dividers, and mats were created on such occasions. They filled Tutsi domestic interiors, covering them from floor to ceiling and creating a visually vibrant arrangement of contrasting black-and-white patterns. Finely woven miniature baskets featured similar variations of decorative patterns alternating black and red dye with the natural gold fibre. Such intimate-sized baskets were made primarily to be offered as gifts and had no common usage besides the storage of precious objects such as the pipe of the master of the house, beads, or amulets.



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