The plata-mhuilinn was a form of grain basket from `Heisker’, or the Monach Isles, which lie to the west of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.It is made from bent grass, or marram. Growing abundantly on the island dunes, bent was an important material for many forms of island basket on both the Western and Northern isles, and was also used for brushes, ropes, horse collars and pack saddle pads, mats, chair seating and nets. This basket or bag is constructed by folding a densely woven bent grass mat in two, and looping the sides together. It has eight handles made from twined grass. The weave is close enough to be almost waterproof and acted to protect grain and meal as it was taken to and from the mill by boat. This basket is also sometimes called a plata-skil. A wonderful example is found in the Baxter-Rintoul Collection at the National Museum of Scotland, held in their stores at Leith Customs House.
References and sources:
Scottish Life Archive
Caroline Dear

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