6 3/8 in. x Diam. 3 3/8 in. (16.19 cm x Diam. 8.57 cm)
Medium and Support:
Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta
Traditionally, women of the aristocratic Tutsi ruling minority have woven small, coiled baskets known as agaseke or in the plural, ubuseke, with slender dried grasses, some of which they colored black with a dye made by boiling banana flowers. Most baskets were woven to give as gifts and used to contain small personal items and precious things like glass beads. The tightly woven and intricately sewn baskets typically have conical tops and geometric decoration like these elegant examples. Tutsi women lost their privileged positions in the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s, but some still sustain their basketry traditions despite the prevalence of plastic containers in their contemporary culture.
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