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Hecht, Elisabeth-Dorothea  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Harari basketwork is carried out by the women of Hārer. Distinct forms and shapes and complicated patterns were developed throughout several centuries. The Paulitschke collection of 1884 in the Austrian Ethnographic Museum in Vienna has the earliest Harari baskets known. The intricate patterns show a richness of color combinations which already in the last century used imported chemical dyes, although natural dyes were known, and informants still know how to prepare them.
The technique demands great skill, since foundation and oversewing coil often have to be composed with materials of several (not only two) contrasting colors. The patterns reflect the cultural history of the town. Other patterns give the name of the inventor of a particular pattern.
Baskets were arranged in a Harari house according to prescribed rules. Mastership in basketmaking and in arranging baskets in a Harari house showed that the artist and housewife knew the skills and rules of this fine art. Every young woman had to have (and still must have) a basic outfit of baskets for her household when she gets married.
The art is still alive. A tourist trade and craft has developed, which is of a simpler make and less fine quality.
Abstract, page 1.
Harari baskets  Search this
Baskets  Search this
Call number:
DT1 .A2589s
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries