MAIVA: Natural Wave Dancing Basket
Bring the serenity of organic forms and natural fibres into your home with the MAIVA Dancing Basket, handwoven from palm leaf (also known as Ilala palm) in rural Zambia. Each one unique, the undulant lines of these African baskets are said to reflect the good and happy times in a village or homestead. These woven baskets are a true work of art, bringing a gentle sense of organic texture and careful craft to whichever space they inhabit.
When the Kariba Dam - a manmade dam on the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe – was built in the 1970’s. many people were displaced in the process. The government and other parties sought to empower these displaced people by equipping them with the skills and tools to earn a living from traditional crafts such as basket weaving, blacksmithing and woodwork. The groups who create these beautiful dancing baskets are supported by such organisations, ensuring that they have the materials and the training to produce these baskets as well as ensuring that fair prices are paid and ethical working conditions observed.
The weavers who produce these dancing baskets tend to weave in groups, meeting outdoors regularly to weave in the shade. Income made from basket weaving is typically invested in family farming enterprises (the other mainstay of these communities along with traditional crafts) and to support the family and pay children’s school fees. You can meet the Zambian weavers here.
Material: PALM LEAF
Dimensions: max DIA (top)
If you need a specific size please let us know prior to placing your order.
Please note, as this is a handmade product, dimensions & colour may vary from those shown in the photographs.
HANDMADE IN ZAMBIA
We are delighted to be bringing beautiful Zambian basketry to The Basket Room, and thus connecting some incredible, rural craft collectives with conscientious customers all over the world. As part of our mission to discover and connect with the most talented craftspeople across Africa, Holly and Peris travelled to Zambia in 2019. Here they met and spent time with three different weaving groups who between them produce some of the woven wall baskets, decorative dancing baskets and handwoven place mats that we are now so pleased to be able to share with you.
Natural dyes are a key feature of this very special Zambian basketry, and the weavers we partner with are masters in achieving beautiful, earthy colours from blending rust, leaves and bark from specific indigenous trees in vats of boiling water.
Men and women both weave in Zambia, and the winnowing baskets that we sell as large wall platters are often used in many weavers’ homes, and for the careful work of separating rice and grain from chaff.
Our Zambian baskets are a celebration of the weavers’ natural home environment, woven from raw materials such as palm leaf, twigs and creeper vines. Some baskets are woven from the carefully stripped roots of certain trees, harvested in a sustainable way that means the tree is not damaged and the root can continue to grow and provide an ongoing source of weaving materials.
Weaving is a vital income source and a way of life for the people in these rural communities. Other means of income are blacksmithing and woodwork, fishing, growing rice and vegetables, and rearing livestock and poultry. People as young as the age of eighteen weave in these Zambian groups, and local schools even run weaving clubs so that youngsters can learn this precious craft and continue this age-old legacy for generations to come. To own one of these handwoven baskets is to become a guardian of this sustainable craft and a supporter of these Zambian weavers’ economic empowerment.
Shop the Dancing Bowls here
Shop the Palm Placemats & Trays here
Shop the Wall Platters here
Shop the Statement Art Baskets here