The Centuries-Old Tradition of Old Makenge Baskets

April 08, 2021

The Centuries-Old Tradition of Old Makenge Baskets - Kanju Interiors

Discover the History of our Collection of Old Makenge Baskets

A centuries-old tradition, passed from generation to generation.

Give any room a facelift and extra personality with these old Makenge baskets. Perfect for adding detail to walls, desks, and any other area of your home. The warm neutral tones and extremely unique craftsmanship makes these baskets highly sought after. Ranging in age from more current to over 50 years old, many consider them to be collector's items with the older ones being especially valuable thanks to their history and traditional characteristics; such as the intricate raised grass designs. 

Makenge baskets are hand woven by the Mbunda woman who live in the Upper Zambezi River region of Zambia. Roots are gathered from the Makenge bush and are then boiled until soft and flexible and used to weave these beautifully unique baskets; a process which has remained the same for generations. Only the smallest roots are gathered as to not damage the bush, allowing it to remain alive and healthy and able to produce more roots for future baskets. Natural dyes are created through a process of boiling leaves and each woman decorates her creations in accordance to her own personal taste and family traditions. 

Makenge root baskets, made in the rural Zambia, were perfect wedding gifts and were often passed down from generation to generation. The baskets have a stunning texture from being used over many years making each one completely unique from age and time. The Mbunda people used maize husks to repair any holes in the baskets that develop over time from being overused, but the maize husk actually adds a beautiful texture to the basket. The concept of throwing things out was not customary or common to these people, their first option was always to repair precious items, like the Makenge baskets. 

Only the most skilled craftswomen in the village can weave these baskets and each one takes an estimated two months to create. These rare wedding baskets are gifted to a new bride by her mother or in-laws, where they are continuously passed down from generation to generation. Each basket features unique, one-of-a-kind patterns that convey messages of beauty, marriage, and family, making them perfect to add warmth and history to your space. 

Adding one of these remarkable, unique baskets to your space means adding a warmth and history that is generations in the making. The distinct patterns and weaving style makes these eye-catching baskets an even more special addition to your home.  


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