A Short History of Baskets and Basket Making

Baskets and basket making played an important role in ancient history. The word "basket" is derived from the Greek word kophinos, which is a basket woven of plaited branches and twigs.

As early as 4,000 BC, Sumerians used baskets to bury their dead.

The use of baskets is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. Some examples include when Moses was floated down the river in a basket made of bulrushes and when Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the masses with a few loaves of bread and several fish, which were found in a young boy's basket. It is noted that 12 baskets filled with leftovers were gathered after everyone had eaten their fill.

Additionally, during archaeological digs, basket fragments, which date back some 12,000 years, were found in and around Egyptian and Neanderthal excavation sites.

Practical and giftable
Though it's impossible to know who made the first basket or what exactly inspired him or her to do so, we do know that necessity is the mother of invention, and baskets-used to store food, water, and personal items-were necessities for early man.

Since basket fragments, as well as pollen, have been found entombed in grave sites that date back thousands of years, it's easy to assume our ancestors cared about their loved ones the way we care about our loved ones. While baskets were indeed used for everyday purposes, it is entirely possible that baskets were also used to hold gifts, in much the same manner as we use gift baskets today.

Perhaps early man brought baskets filled with food and flowers to the graves of their dearly departed as part of their religious beliefs, or perhaps this gift basket was simply a way to help ease the pain of loss. We may never know. But regardless of whether early man and modern man are on the save wavelength, we know this much is true: baskets and flowers at funerals as well as for other important occasions are as important to us today as they were to our ancestors thousands of years ago.

And while we will never know who perfected each different basket weave, or who figured out which grasses worked best in the creation of which basket, we do know baskets are here to stay.

Always in style
Baskets are handy and easy to use, materials are varied and plentiful, and skilled artists are able to weave beautiful and stunning products into more styles and shapes than can be counted. The most important role baskets play in society, and why baskets have never gone out of style, is the reason they were created in the first place: baskets are necessities.

Baskets: Versatile and tangible
Though modern man has a wide variety of sophisticated means of carrying items from one location to the next and can create any type of storage unit desired, baskets remain popular. It's easy to understand why. Since their inception in society, baskets have been not only practical, fun, and diverse, but a tangible means of communication. Today, as in days gone by, a basket filled with flowers is still one of the nicest ways to say you care.

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