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Esparto Baskets

Early July is the period when the leaves are harvested of the only native palm tree in Mallorca, the Palmito (Chamaerops humilis), also known as Garballó. The palm leaves are dried for at least 20 days and have to be turned over every few days. Tradition has it that the drying process should be completed by August 7th (the Festa of Sant Salvador), or else, August 16th (the Festa of Sant Roc) at the very latest. Later in the year, the leaves are cut and woven into long bands the width of belts which are ultimately fashioned into the lovely Esparto shopping baskets so typical of Spain.

In Mallorca, some 8,481 artisans were involved in this art of cistelleria or basket weaving. Nowadays, there may be 1,200 people left who are still versatile in this age old tradition, here on the island, and mainly so in the Artà and Capdepera area.

A nice book on the subject of palmito weavings has been published in Catalan by Maria Gelabert, Francesca Niell, Andreu Ramis, Joan Sureda and Pere Sureda, called L’obra de palma. Cistelles, graneres i cordats.

The photo was taken in Santanyí, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 16th, 2010. The time was 14:13:17.

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