The Mossi people from the Sanmatenga Province of central Burkina Faso construct many interesting types of baskets.
Deep baskets made of reeds are used in ceremonies, primarily weddings, and are also used for collecting cereals during harvest.
Smaller sieve baskets are made of strong straw, and are used for sifting through tamarind fruit. The young green fruits are very bitter but can be combined with poisonous yams to make them edible. The older fruits are used mostly as flavoring in other dishes.
The Fulani people are the largest nomadic tribe on earth and are now found inhabiting more that 20 Northern and Central African countries, including Burkina Faso, in an area larger than the United States.
Mbeedu rondeles from the Fulani people are distinctive, flat baskets used to cover gourds, which are traditionally used for food storage. Palm leaf is stitched over grass coils to create this flat basket.
Coil weaving is the most difficult type of basket weaving. Fibers are wrapped and stitched over a coil of grass. Controlling the thickness and evenness of the coils takes years of practice. As a bowl get larger, it takes exponentially more time to expand in diameter. The coils on each row become much longer as the bowl flares upwards and outwards. Adding an inch in diameter at the top of a basket could actually take as long or longer than the first several inches as the base of the basket.
These baskets are great for a wall display or for use as a trivet.
The Tuareg people are a nomadic tribe in the Sahel region of North Africa, including Burkina Faso.
Skillfully coil woven yet simply designed winnowing baskets are made of palm leaves stitched together over coils of dried grass. They look wonderful as part of a wall display or as a tray on any flat surface.
About the Sahel region
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.
The Sahel part of Africa includes from west to east parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, the extreme north of Cameroon and Central African Republic, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea and the extreme north of Ethiopia.
Traditionally, most of the people in the Sahel have been semi-nomads, farming and raising livestock in a system of transhumance, which is probably the most sustainable way of utilizing the Sahel. The difference between the dry North with higher levels of soil nutrients and the wetter South with more vegetation, is utilized by having the herds graze on high-quality feed in the North during the wet season, and trek several hundred kilometers to the South to graze on more abundant, but less nutritious feed during the dry period.
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