Picnic basket

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)

Date: 19th century

Culture: China

Medium: Zitan wood with metal corner mounts, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and semiprecious stones

Dimensions: H. 9 1/8 in. (23.2 cm); L. 15 1/8 in. (38.4 cm); D. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)

Classification: Woodwork

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Willaim Corbus, 1977

Accession Number: 1977.262a–g


This picnic basket is outfitted with three stacked trays, one hidden flat tray, and a flat cover that is fastened to the handle with a long wooden pin. The decorative designs on the box appeal to the popular taste for the fantastic and auspicious.

The top of the cover displays a marvelous scene of combat between two sword-wielding figures, probably illustrating an episode from a popular story of chivalry. The sides of the trays are adorned with floral sprays, leafy sprigs, and fruit, which allude to progeny, fulfilled wishes, and peace.