Strolling down the street of baskets in Valencia
It is called Músico Peydro but everyone knows it as the street of Baskets. In the middle of Valencia’s historical quarter, a street looks back into the past and remembers the organisation of mediaeval cities into trading organisations, where wickerwork and esparto dominate the stage.
Small traditional shops line up alongside each other down the street. The explanation for its popular name is obvious as soon as you get there. Chairs, baskets large and small, cupboards and all kinds of craft wickerwork fill the trades. The craftsmen are one of the few associations that have overcome time to keep one area of the city for their work.
The materials with which the craftsmen produced and produce their work that decorates the ‘calle de las Cestas’ today are essentially wicker, esparto and cane. Born on the shores of the Valencia albufera (freshwater lagoon by the sea), in the irrigation channels or in the hills, it was in the winter or the rainy season when these materials were worked.
The daily needs, such as harvesting the fields, were the target of this kind of craft work. With time, the working of wicker, cane and esparto also turned to creating less practical, more decorative and ornamental objects. These all share a place in this area of the capital of Valencia. Only the basketwork association remains, but its shops are the legacy of a traditional art from Valencia that has passed from one generation to the next.
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