Friday, 2 November 2012

A Collection of Baskets

The museum of decorative arts and design in Oslo hosts a small collection of Japanese bamboo baskets. The 15 ikebana baskets dates from the period 1850-1900, and they are exhibited permanently in the downstairs stairwell area. I went there the other day to take some pictures and was surprised by the variety of the baskets.

Flower baskets were quite popular in this era of the Meiji Restoration, especially the formal style inspired by Chinese culture. The opening of Japan to the west made collecting Japanese items more accessible. Still only a few Europeans travelled to Japan at this time. When the Swedish woman Ida Trotzig moved to Japan 1888 to live with her husband who was a businessman, she was one of very few Westerners to study ikebana and Japanese culture. There is no information on where the basket collection at the museum in Oslo comes from. So I guess we're free to let the imagination loose and make up our own stories about how the collection ended up in Norway.

Which one of the baskets is your favorite? What kind of ikebana would you create in "your" basket if you got the chance?

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