Big Zulu Beer Basket South Africa
A rigid, bulb-shaped container, rendered water-tight by the tightness of the coil/weave and the material used (Ilala palm). When liquids (generally home-brewed beer) are introduced into the ukhamba, the pores swell, whilst the outside sweats, thus keeping the liquid cool by means of evaporation. These baskets are usually very decorative and colorful. Particularly those made for ceremonial use.
MATERIALS COMMONLY USED IN ZULU BASKET WEAVING
Ilala Palm - Most desirable. Grows along the North Eastern Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Once cut and dried, the leaf is then prepared for weaving intofine, often water-tight baskets. Natural shade: Cream
Ncebe - Bark of wild Banana. These baskets are not water-tight, they're used for dry storage. Dyed Ilala interwoven to impart color and design. Natural shade: light brown
SOME COMMON COLORS USED IN ZULU BASKET WEAVING
All colors are natural, obtained from boiling roots, leaves, berries and bark of indigenous flora. Many are seasonal. Dye stuffs are roots and barks of plants, weith the exception of black, which uses battery acid! Dye stuffs are finbely chopped, water is added, and the grasses to be dyed are boiled in this mixture.
Brown/Black (Isizimane) - Roots of tree, crushed (boiled for many days)
Pink/Lilac (Mpheghumbetu) - Leaves of small bush (boiled 12-18 hours)
Coral (Mgwenya) - Aloe Roots (boiled 4-6 hours)
Purple/Blue (Umdoni) - Skin of ripe Umdoni berries (boiled 4-5 hours)
Burgundy/Maroon (Isfizu) - Bark of Marula tree (boiled 1-2 hours)
Orange (Xomisane) - Roots of small plant (boiled 2-4 hours)
Mustard/Yellow (Icena) - Paste of wood-ash and water (soaked overnight, boiled 5-7 hours)
Grey (Ijuba) - Soaked in black mud for up to 1 week
Khaki Green (Mxuba) - The green color is clearer in Spring. Fresh cow dung, soaked overnight in water, then boiled with palm leaves (4-5 hours)