What is a Sweetgrass Basket?
The art of weaving Sweetgrass Baskets, South Carolina’s official state handcraft, was first introduced to the Lowcountry in the seventeenth century by enslaved African people. First constructed using bulrush, a tough type of marsh grass, these baskets are now made of the softer, native perennial sweetgrass that requires minimal care.
The Sweetgrass Basket tradition can be traced back to the slave trade in West Africa.
The proud descendants have used it for centuries to preserve their oral history and culture. In the antebellum South, however, the Gullah-Geechee ancestors used Sweetgrass Baskets for more practical purposes.
They were used for storing food and toting things like crops from the fields. They were also used for fanning rice, flipping the grains into the air so that the husk could be carried away with the wind.
Today, Sweetgrass Baskets are considered works of art and are available in several local shops as well as the Charleston Market.
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