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These one-of-a-kind hand woven baskets are crafted using sustainably harvested wild reeds and date palm leaves. They are fairly traded from individual weavers in Pakistan. Zanzibar offers two qualities of baskets: STANDARD which are superbly woven baskets of excellent quality and MASTER WEAVER which are extra fine baskets woven with smaller (thinner) strips of date palm leaves enabling far more detail and a tighter weave. While standard baskets are all hand picked and of very good quality, the master baskets are truely amazing and yet only a few dollars more.
The designs are based on both centuries old Pakistan and American Southwest Indian designs and each basket can take weeks to weave. While these baskets feature traditional Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Apache and other Native American basket designs and images, they are not produced by Native Americans.
As the story goes, it was a missionary from the American Southwest who introduced a book featuring Native American basket designs (including man in the maze, wedding basket design, dog and horse patterns, etc) to the weavers in Pakistan - and true to this, there are MANY unscrupulous vendors who sell these baskets as Native American Indian baskets. At Zanzibar we pride ourselves in sourcing authentic items from the people who created them. We have deep respect for the inherent pattern and their meanings of Native American basket designs.
We normally do not sell cheap knock-offs or fakes, we would rather sell the real item from the people who originated it/them. In this instance, however, we feel that the Pakistani baskets are dissimilar enough and yet high enough quality and yet at a very affordable price point as to compliment rather than replace native american baskets. A Pakistan basket priced at under $40 is not going to compete with the real basket that can sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars if crafted by a native American. We do not mean to undermine or belittle the beliefs of the Indigenous people of the Americas by selling these baskets . While some of the designs are Native American, many are designs that are Pakistani and or transend cultures and borders and are designs that are found in dozens of basket weaving cultures around the world.
Minor variations and imperfections in color and material are consistent with its hand made nature. Date leaves are collected and dried then dyed with natural pigments in a simple clay lined pit. The colored leaves are then wrapped in a figure eight weave around wild river reeds. The weaver must constantly keep in mind when to change the colors in making the different designs. Colors will soften with age / use or exposure to sunlight owing to their vegetable based origins. Baskets that have been "antiqued" are either dyed using teas and or a colored wax and are slightly more expensive than non-antiqued baskets.
Please note: As each monitor displays colors differently, actual colors and intensities of colors on individual baskets may vary from how they are displayed on your monitor. We have HUNDREDS of baskets in stock - if there is a specific pattern, color or size you're looking for, please let us know! Other sizes from tiny 3" to giant 44" baskets available. Contact us for current selectoin.