Black ink-like sketches on woven reed panels give this skillfully made 19th century Chinese basket added appeal. The twelve sketches are of various symbolic plants, flowers and fruit. Shaped like a bird in flight, the unusual handle is wrapped in bamboo strips at the thick mid-section and on the thinner ends, where the bamboo is woven into a black and natural-color pattern. This lidded, two-compartment basket has a removable upper section, and was used to carry and serve food at weddings and other celebrations. The surface shows wear on the bamboo strips that encircle the compartments, and calligraphy on handle extensions down each side has been nearly obliterated; otherwise the basket is in good condition. Dimensions: height 19 1/2" (50 cm), diameter 16 1/2" (42 cm).