A basket is a container which is traditionally constructed from stiff fibres, often made of willow. The top is either left open or the basket may be fitted with a lid.
, other grasses
, or wicker
are often used to make baskets. These items can also made today from plastic
. The first baskets were woven by gatherers to collect fruits
, and other edible plant materials, as well as for holding fish
by early fishing
humans. A creel
is a basket made especially to hold fish.ll
The plant life available in a region affects the choice of material, which in turn influences the weaving technique. Rattan and other members of the Arecaceae or palm tree family, the thin grasses of temperate regions, and broad-leaved tropical bromeliads each require a different method of twisting and braiding to be made into an effective basket.
Although baskets were traditionally created to serve a utilitarian rather than an aesthetic purpose, the practice of basket making has evolved into an art. Artistic freedom allows basket makers a wide choice of colors, materials, sizes, patterns, and details.
Archaeological sites in the Middle East show that weaving techniques were used to make mats and possibly also baskets, circa 8 000 BC. Baskets made with several interwoven techniques were common at 3 000 BC.
The carrying of a basket on the head, particularly by rural women, has long been practiced. Representations of this in Ancient Greek art are called Canephorae.
Overturned woven baskets are used drummed by the Tohono O'odham to accompany songs (Zepeda 1995, p.89).
In modern usage, baskets are chosen chiefly for decorative purposes.
Easter baskets are used to collect or hold treats for Easter. These baskets are normally made of plastic (not woven) and have a weave-like pattern imprinted.
Gift baskets are used to present items such as fruit, wine, and flowers. Some baskets are used to cradle bottles of red wine to assist pouring.
Baskets made out of crystal glass are manufactured both for decorative and utility purposes.
Hot air balloons are equipped with baskets for carrying the operator and passengers.
As a demonstration of contortionism, a basket containing a human may be repeatedly pierced with swords. The human survives through skill in avoiding the swords.
Figurative and literary usage
The phrase "to hell in a handbasket
" means to rapidly deteriorate
. The origin of this use is unclear.
Gallery of baskets
- Zepeda, Ofelia (1995). Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert. ISBN 0816515417.