What was the purpose of wicker caskets?

Death was very personal for Victorians, with the body of the deceased laid out in the parlor of house, often in a wicker casket like this one. It was used temporarily for the funeral and viewing of the body, and typically used over and over again. These caskets were also known as transfer baskets, used to transport the bodies of those who died while away from home. They were lightweight and easier to carry than a coffin made of wood or metal.

Wicker and woven caskets are increasing in popularity once again with the eco-friendly burials in mind (also called green burials). Wicker caskets today are a natural and sustainable choice, made from materials such as willow, rattan, seagrass, reed, bamboo, or other grasses.