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At the reception given by the Vennan delegation, the Polpethtiran traders presented us with a trio of hand-woven baskets they had made. Gredin admired them on our first trip to the Traders’ Market, where these broad, shallow baskets were used by the Polpethtira to display their wares. What they were selling was of no use or interest to us, but the craftsmanship of the baskets themselves caught Gredin’s eye.

It is always a pleasure to see usefulness and beauty mixed together. Baskets are meant to be filled, and yet the flower design at the basket’s bottom is as skillfully wrought as the sides. It pleases me to know that the shy Polpethtirans have an artistic eye and, quite possibly, a playful spirit.