Art and Life Among the Zaramo of Tanzania

by Diane Pelrine
Indiana University Art Museum

A selection of basketry food covers, Zaramo peoples, Tanzania. Photo by Diane Pelrine.


Although at one time each Zaramo household made its own basketry, today pieces can be purchased at shops and markets.  This interior of a shop shows a selection of basketry food covers.  When not serving their primary function--keeping insects and dirt out of food--they are hung by a loop in a wall as household decoration, as you see here.  Today many food covers are painted with Swahili proverbs or axioms or images of fruits, vegetables, or flowers.  This shop was run by an extended family; the women wove the baskets and food covers, and the men painted them.