Korean Winnowing Basket: KEY (in Korean = winnowing basket) is a thin, flat wicker and bamboo woven basket. It gathers, separates and pours the grain. A winnowing basket has been an important tool used in Korea for centuries. The flat and wide shape of the narrow backed basket is specifically designed to separate the grain from its husk. When using an upward sweeping motion of the KEY, a wind tunnel is created, which causes the heavier grain to sit in the back of the basket, while the lighter debris, or husks escape into wind. This effect is called ‘winnowing’. In addition to separating grain, the KEY has an important ceremonial purpose.
The elders in Korea believe that during periods of severe drought, the KEY can bring rain. The ceremony requires one of female villagers to go down to the stream, scooping and draining water from the KEY over and over, simulating rain falling from the sky in order to bring rain for their crops.