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Wedding Basket with Arched Handle
Item No. 19122

20th Century, N/A, China
Lacquer over Wood
12" x 10.5" x 9"
( 30.48 x 26.67 x 22.86 cm)
(H x W x D)

The Chinese are noted for their fine small vessels---baskets, vases, buckets and boxes to name a few--- crafted in unique and exotic shapes and covered with rich deep red lacquers. The most ordinary utilitarian pieces took on importance when made with craft and artistry. This wedding basket is an excellent example of the heights to which such pieces rose. Although small and seeming plain, the appeal of this basket is its perfect shape and proportions, with its gracefully arched flame-like rounded. It can be argued that the arch of the handle and the body below represents a lotus and mirrors the closed lotus bud that forms the tip of the lid. The massiveness of the body is softened by the undulating horizontal bands of the lid. The lotus is a sign of purity and, thus, appropriate for gracing a vessel being delivered to an eager bride.

Boxes such as this would have been taken to the bride on her wedding day and would have contained food or gifts. The mastery of the basket as well as the contents within were indicators of the wealth of the groom’s family as well as the esteem in which they held the prospective bride. Given the elegant design of this basket, the bride was indeed wooed by an eager and affluent suitor.

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