On page 30 of an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable catalog, i saw a picture and description of a "Museum Quality Vintage Zambian Wedding Basket" for $189. Holding it in her weathered hands was a woman in her 70's - Zambian, I assumed - her eyes bright but her lips spread in a straight line that faintly echoed a smile. The basket, very round, wide and shallow was "handwoven almost 50 years ago by tribal women as gifts for brides and daughters - part of a 400 year old tradition." Taking up to two months to complete, only many years of use gave the basket its "rich patina." Both "utilitarian and celebratory" its black and white pattern symbolized the "ebbs and flows" of married life.
What happened to the 400 year old tradition to make these daughters and brides give their wedding baskets away? Did the woman in the picture weave the one she is holding? Is there no more grain to winnow, no more husband, no more use for a black and white pattern to run a finger across while keeping an eye on the children playing nearby?
Have they replaced them with Tupperware? It is surely less of a celebratory feel. Unless they've also imported the Tupperware Party. What about Tupperware mirrors the ups and downs of married life? The inevitable stains or the way they snap definitively shut?