Basket (ashanga)

Basket for carrying food (ashanga)

Shuar people

Buena Esperanza, Morona Santiago, Ecuador, 2012


What is it and what is it made of? This is a basket or ashanga used by the Shuar people of Ecuador to carry and store food.

What is it made of? This basket is made by weaving dried plant fibre either from a rainforest climbing vine called tingishapnek (Rhodospatha sp), a root called kaap (Heteropsis oblongifolia) or a palm called pumpuna (Carludovica palmata). The handle of this basket is made from a scrap of cloth but often a piece of strong vine is used.

Do children use them as toys? Many children living in rainforest communities work alongside their parents and grandparents, helping to plant and harvest the crops, gathering fruit, fishing and hunting. Boys learn to hunt from a very young age. This boy is going to gather fruit from his grandmother’s field. Nowadays most children go to school and have less time to work in the forest than their parents and grandparents did.

Linked objects:

Knotted netted bag (shigra)

More images and a video of baskets: