Holding the light

I do like baskets. My first proper (as in paid) museum job, at Bankfield Museum in Halifax meant I looked after their small and beautifully formed historic ethnographic basket collection. And their equally beautifully formed contemporary basket collection – I was spoilt with Lois Walpole, Dail Behennah and the like.

Working in museums has cured me of the urge to collect. There is so much stuff in museums. I have been quite good at not collecting things. We don’t count books. But I’ve always had a hankering for a basket. Perhaps two. I found this beauty quite recently on eBay. It was bought, the seller told me, by her father from Liberty, London in the 1950s. I have no idea if that is true but I like the story.

I think this is a Japanese basket. Perhaps intended for use in Ikebana, the flower arranging art. I also think this is bamboo. But other than this, I have no more information. I do know the shape, the crisscross weave and the small handle make it soothing to live with. I like to see the light play through it and I see a different detail every time I look. It’s a little bit dusty and dirty, too, which I also like. If anyone can better my knowledge of the type of basket it might be, please do let me know.

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