Woven Prayer Mat Baskets from Senegal

Woven Prayer Mat Baskets from Senegal

Kyle Freeman
Feb 10, 2010

We're always on the lookout for unique and beautiful storage solutions. These fair trade "hampers" sold by Swahili African Modern in three different sizes are among the loveliest baskets we've spotted.

An excerpt from the Swahili African Modern website explains the current construction of the prayer mat baskets:

"This coil style of basket weaving has been practiced in Senegal for generations, and Wolof girls learn weaving technique from their mothers and aunts. Traditionally, Wolof women crafted baskets by binding njodax, a thick local grass, with thin strips of palm frond. Palm fronds were difficult to work and very hard on the hands of the weavers, so about 20 years ago an anonymous creative party introduced large needles and strips of plastic purchased from a mat factory in Dakar. This simple change in material dramatically reduced discomfort during the weaving process. Today's Wolof baskets reflect this merger of traditional crafting techniques with contemporary materials."

The baskets are definitely a splurge ($54 for small - 10" D x 16" H; $86 for medium - 14" D x 22" H; $144 for large - 16" D x 28" H) but if you're in the market for a highly visible storage solution that adds a strong decorative element to your space, these are a beautiful option.

For more information, check out the Swahili African Modern website.

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