Imbenge basket - powder blue
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These bright, washable and sturdy baskets, called imbenge in the Zulu language and referred to as “scoobie” bowls in South Africa, come in myriad colors and intricate, mesmerizing designs. Woven by several cooperatives, the weavers work in their villages in the northern part of Kwazulu/Natal province of South Africa, surrounded by the rugged hills of the old Zululand. Originally crafted of downed telephone wires and used to cover baskets of beer, they can be used to store nuts, fruit, bread, or other foodstuffs, or simply admired for their beauty and workmanship. This style of basket, originally used to cover traditional iLala palm beer baskets, has grown into a contemporary art form taken to incredible levels of skill and color. These baskets are actually woven using plastic coated telephone wire! Amazingly, the baskets are woven from the outside edge toward the center.