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A basketry cave

The hands are the main instrument of the artisan

The interweaving of flexible plant fibers to form vessels was already practiced in prehistoric times.  

Nowadays it can be considered a modest activity due to the changes in the way of life and the substitution of natural fibers for synthetic ones. Some raw materials are Esparto grass, bulrush, cane or wicker.

Flatten Esparto grass

The flattening was carried out by spreading the esparto grass on stone blocks (picaeras) and subjecting it to the percussion of large and heavy hardwood mallets, mechanically driven through a pulley system, in order to remove the woody part that covers its fiber bundles.

These mallets were grouped in bands of four and fell at a rate of about forty blows per minute. The picaoras workers, sitting on the floor and each of them attending to two mallets simultaneously, had to introduce the esparto grass between stone and mallet and turn it over in order to achieve a similar flattening.