A sailor carved coconut basket with a pineapple motif and a scalloped edge. This is a simple, elegant example of this traditional folk art. The history of carved coconuts like this is not well documented, but it is generally accepted that they were made by sailors in Mexico as souvenirs, with some being carved by prisoners in Veracruz and sold to sailors - much like prisoners in US prisons developed a tradition of matchstick art and gum-wrapper crafts, using what they had to express themselves and keep busy.
The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality which began in pre-revolution New England, again associated with the sea. Captains would bring their ships to home to port after sailing the Caribbean Islands, their holds full of cargo - spices, rum, and fruit, Once home, they would spear a pineapple on top of a fence post and set it outside to signal their safe return and welcome their friends and neighbors to visit and share stories, food, and drink - and sharing a ripe, exotic, costly pineapple was definitely a treat for all involved. This symbolism of the pineapple as a sign of welcome and hospitality has lasted well into our own time.
CONDITION is excellent antique with only normal wear. Measures roughly 3 1/2" (8.9 cm) x 4 3/4" (12.1 cm) and stands about 3 1/2" (8.9 cm)tall.
This is a sweet little basket if you collect sailor-made folk art. It would prove useful on a dresser or desk, and could even be pressed into service to offer a few candies and continue the tradition of hospitality. Enjoy!