Japanese Tsukiji Fish Market Bamboo Basket Large Woven Handle Antique Vintage Asian
Usually seen around Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market, this large rectangular woven basket is found in the hands of the regular ...
moreUsually seen around Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market, this large rectangular woven basket is found in the hands of the regular shoppers, or strapped to the backs of scooters and bicycles ferrying the mornings catch back to numerous sushi bars and izakaya (pubs). The basket is so popular with these market-goers and has been in use for so long that it’s widely referred to as the Tsukiji basket. (Last photo)
Hand made in Iwate prefecture, Japan of locally grown bamboo.
The basket was originally handleless and used by farmers to transport produce from the fields to local markets. After World War II, the distribution of food became more centralized and the basket followed the produce to markets like Tsukiji. It seems probable that handles were added by individuals noticing its usefulness and adapting it to their own shopping needs. The producers followed up on the demand by adding bamboo handles, which were prone to breaking, and then switched to rope, which was more durable but less hygienic. More recently, in its current form, the rope is enclosed by a transparent plastic hosepipe.
This basket extremely stable, having a large, flat base and tapering sides; its seamless woven construction — in itself a masterful achievement — makes it highly rigid and crush resistant (ideal for transporting fish, fruit, tofu or other delicate foodstuffs); the plastic hosepipe is easily cleaned and comfortable in the hand while its transparency preserves the visual impression of a rope handle; and it holds a lot of shopping.
These days the number of basket producers in Iwate Prefecture has fallen to two or three. The skill involved in making the item depends on a fair amount of patience and experience, and one wonders how much longer the tradition will survive. With Tsukiji market due to relocate across the Sumida River to the area of Toyosu — a sanitized version of its old self — will the famous basket be left behind in the move? Or will its function remain unbeaten by modern alternatives, holding out as a souvenir of a more colorful past?
Approximate Dimensions: 18" x 11" x 10". Handle Drop is 6" less
- 18ʺW × 11ʺD × 10ʺH
- Item Type
- Vintage, Antique or Pre-owned
- Very Good Condition, Original Condition Unaltered, No Imperfections
- Condition Notes
- Excellent condition. Some dust from storage. Refer photos for details Excellent condition. Some dust from storage. Refer photos for details less
- Place of Origin
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