Modern Beauty in African and Chinese Artifacts

Find modern beauty in our new African and Chinese shipment in-store now

May 2019
african tribal art

At Milan Design Week this April, the world’s biggest design exhibition turned the spotlight on ancient traditions of basket making to elevate woven containers from places like South Africa. As well as textiles, ceramics, and other ancient traditions.

This week we unpacked our first African shipment in many, many months. You will find beautiful beads and beaded objects, baskets, masks, carved stools, figures, textiles, and woven furniture, that have a profound place in African culture.

african tribal masks

There are small, unassuming beaded items which are representative of wealth and status, pride and beauty in Africa. Cherished by their forefathers, they have many cultural symbols and are used as currencies or for exchange purposes – but just as beautiful in the modern home. There are also Ghanaian recycled glass beads made using a traditional African process that has been used for centuries.

You will find baskets and trays as well as woven Malawi chairs and fishing net lights. Weaving has formed an integral part of African culture for thousands of years. The art of weaving has transformed communities, and these coveted skills have been passed down for generations.

Time-consuming and complex, each woven item has a story to tell, of long-standing African traditions. Using resources locally available, African tribes have been developing this art form with styles, patterns, and shapes unique to each community.

African tribes typically use four different weaving techniques, coiling, plaiting, twining, or checkerboard. Before the actual weaving can commence, plant fibers are cleaned, stripped, and sometimes dyed before being woven into their specific shapes and patterns. Basket and textile weaving techniques have evolved from an integral and practical part of the community to a highly expressive form of contemporary art.

african masks

Seek out baskets by the Batonga of Zimbabwe and Southern Zambia who are famous for their basket weaving skills as well as their geometric designs. An Ilala palm is woven into a characteristic square to begin and then radiates outwards to create dramatic patterns, traditionally in the shape of a spider web or lightning. The palm fibers are dyed with tree bark, and the baskets are finished with a distinctive herringbone pattern rim.

A basket of 30cm takes roughly two weeks to complete, and these winnowing baskets are used to separate the grain from the chaff. In an area prone to drought and poverty, Tonga women are the entrepreneurs of their villages, bringing much-needed additional income to their families.

There is also a new collection of Makenge baskets from Zambia, hand-woven from the roots of the Makenge bush, these baskets are traditionally used for thrashing wheat and are handed down to new brides from their mothers or in-laws to be passed down in the future to the next generation.

african textiles

Also, beautifully carved timber stools, tribal masks, and so much more.

This week, a new shipment of Chinese pieces arrived with a large collection of our coveted blue and white porcelain, white ceramics, elm consoles, cabinets and furniture which always sell fast.

We also have the perfect Mother’s Day gifts that will make your mother’s day unforgettable. Find gifts for your mum, and all the women in your life – aunts, sisters, grandmothers, friends –  that are unique and special, just like them.

blue and white chinese porcelain jars and figurines

Hurry in, we’d love to show you around. Our African shipment is one of our most anticipated arrivals of the year. And you’ll love our new Chinese container.

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