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Comparative Basket Weaving
Friedlaender Collection, Kaxinawa Collection, and Miller-Toba Collection 

Carrying Baskets on the Solomon Islands

Island: Malaita      

Region: Kwaoi 

Friedlaender Collection

Baskets, otherwise known as “carrying bags”, are crucial to a family residing within a village on Malaita. These baskets were collected by biological anthropologist Dr. Friedlaender between 1950 and 2000. Carrying bags are made and used by both men and women. These bags are universal and used by women to haul heavy loads of items such as fire wood or produce. Some of the carrying bags have long straps. Rather than using these straps to secure the bag around one’s shoulder, women secured the straps around their heads so they could carry more items at once (2007.03.85). Baskets without straps were used to carry almost anything (2007.03.31). In addition to being used for the purpose of transporting goods, the baskets were used as sleeping mats, for carrying produce, carrying babies, etc. Baskets were a symbol of womanhood.

Artifacts from collection included in the exhibit: 




Baskets of the Toba People of Argentina

Miller-Toba Collection

These baskets were collected from the Toba people by anthropologist Dr. Miller in the 1950s and 1960s during a time of cultural transition. The Toba people were centralized in Central Chaco in Argentina. They would weave baskets using natural materials such as plants and bark. They would use bark specifically for dyeing the baskets and creating designs on them in different colors. The Toba people did not believe in cutting down trees since they are a part of nature, therefore they only removed the bark from them. If they needed wood, they would use the wood from dead trees. All of the dyes used were from indigenous plants and trees.

Artifacts from collection included in the exhibit: 




Basket Weaving Among the Kaxinawa People of Peru

Kaxinawa Collection

Basket weaving was an activity that both Kaxinawa men and women participated in, though they had different roles. These baskets were collected by anthropologist Dr. Kensinger in the 1960s. The baskets made by men were made of different materials than those woven by women. They were called Kakan baskets (1966.1.88). The men were able to use materials such as wood or those similar to wood such as vines or bark. Although men did construct baskets, they did this so the women could use them for collecting garden vegetables. The basket made by Yawamapu is tagged “Made by men, used by women”. A husband, Yawamapu, and his wife were basket makers, with the husband building the frame and the wife weaving the body(1966.1.89). Baskets such as these that were made by men and women are called Kuki baskets. The women used palm leaves and thread to make their baskets. These baskets are called Chichan (1966.1.99). Typically, women’s baskets are woven tighter and there is more attention to detail.

Artifacts from collection included in the exhibit: 





The Toba people weaved baskets that they would sell solely to tourists. These baskets were made more for display than practicality. Some Toba people were able to survive off of weaving these baskets and selling them to tourists.

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