The Museum’s Collection.
Wicker work is classified into three categories: light work, medium work and furniture. Baskets of various shapes, for domestic use, and baskets used in agricultural tasks, such as this "vintage basket", fall into the second category.
These handcrafted baskets were often made by the farmers themselves, who had wicker plantations, and then used the raw material to make utilitarian baskets. As the name indicates, they are used during the harvest to transport the grapes to the wine-press. They are manufactured with raw wicker, with bark, making it more resistant.
The harvest stood out as the most important moment in the viticulture work. From the end of August to the beginning of October, the rural environment was animated by this bustle, attracting outsiders and seasonal wage earners. This agricultural work took place in the unnumbered vineyards scattered around the island, with the wine-presses as the centre. Old people, adults and children, armed with knives, pruning hooks and jack-knives, cut the bunches and filled the "vintage baskets", transporting them on their backs to the wine-press.
Credits: Madeira Ethnographic Museum