Before Eating : Shrimp Basket
Hawaiian women and children used shrimp baskets, or hinai ‘ōpae, to catch both freshwater and saltwater varieties of shrimp and small fish. Sometimes they would leave the baskets underwater for days so that the crustaceans were used to its presence and the women collecting the shrimp would have a more fruitful catch. The baskets were made out of a native Hawaiian vine, Freycinetia arborea, or ‘ie ‘ie. When weaving shrimp or fishing baskets, the weavers believed that if anyone stepped over the vine, the fishermen and women would be cursed with bad catches. This basket reflects a very efficient and traditional fishing method used by Hawaiians, a method which lost its prominence in Hawaiian culture as an increasing colonizing presence melded foreign and Hawaiian cultures together in the 20th century. This basket is unusual to appear in a collection because they were usually used only a few times and discarded because of their smell.