Woven African Basket: The Munyumbwe from Zambia


Woven African Basket: Munyumbwe from Zambia

Materials: Palm leaves, twigs, creeper vines

Crafting: Woven for centuries in Tonga, Munyumbwe basket undergoes a intricate process. Palm leaves are split, meticulously woven, and connected at the bottom by a thick braid. A second weaving in vine fiber provides double thickness, ensuring strength and durability.

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Woven African Basket: The Munyumbwe from Zambia

This woven African basket, Munyumbwe, with its deep basket shape, combines rigidity and distinct patterns through the use of various plant fibers in its weaving.

Crafting the Munyumbwe African Woven Basket:

Originating from Zambia, this African basket has been woven for centuries by the Tonga people, showcasing a rich tradition deeply rooted in Tonga culture. Artisans primarily use palm leaves (malala), twigs (nsamu), and creeping vines (tende), robust materials ensuring longevity and uniqueness.

The intricate weaving process involves splitting the plant’s leaves in the middle. These leaves are meticulously woven together and connected to the basket’s bottom with a thick braid. Additionally, an outer weaving of vine fiber provides a double layer, ensuring exceptional durability.

Uses of the Munyumbwe African Basket:

This woven basket holds a special place in Tonga culture, often given to brides. Primarily used for utilitarian purposes, it serves in winnowing, storing harvested grains, and presenting dry foods.

In daily use, this woven basket exhibits remarkable versatility, suitable for various purposes. Its significant decorative value allows it to seamlessly integrate into your decor. Like most of our baskets, it can be used in numerous ways. From the entrance hall to the kitchen, from the living room to the bedroom, this woven basket stands out as a unique piece that captures attention. With its distinctive decoration, it harmoniously fits on the floor or on a shelf. Versatile, it can be used in various ways, whether for organizing everyday items, holding blankets, or serving as a fruit basket. It is an essential element of interior decoration.

Cultural Context of Basket Creation:

The rich cultural diversity of Africa is filled with captivating rituals, from coming-of-age ceremonies to wedding and fertility rituals, even the creation of handicrafts is ritualized.

Among these handicrafts is the Tonga woven basket. Uniquely crafted by Batonga artisans in the Munyumbwe region, located south of Zambia, the Munyumbwe basket holds cultural significance for the Tonga people of Zambia and Zimbabwe, closely tied to the ritual performed during its creation.

During this ritual, a spirit or revered figure, commonly known as ‘muzimo,’ often blesses the basket. This spiritual aspect adds profound meaning to each woven African basket from Tonga. In summary, it becomes a utilitarian object while carrying the essence of cultural heritage.

  • Materials of the Munyumbwe African Basket:
    Palm leaves, twigs, creeping vines

In conclusion, each woven Munyumbwe African basket is a unique piece, skillfully woven by Batonga artisans. We have carefully captured the singularity of each creation through photographs. Genuine works of art, choosing one of these baskets is an invitation to bring a part of Tonga cultural heritage into your home, with the assurance that your piece is truly exceptional!

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