While poking around an antique shop years ago, I came upon this beautiful brass “thing.” The vendor didn’t have a lot of information about it. I teased him and said I didn’t feel comfortable paying $50 for something I couldn’t identify so would he take $25. We shook hands and I brought it home. The Mr.’s family has strong connections to Asia. His grandparents married and lived in Hong Kong and later the Philippines (their first child was born there). An uncle served as a chaplain in the Air Force and was in occupied Japan for a number of years. I knew that whatever this “thing” wound up being called, it would fit with the Asian influenced items we had inherited/treasured from the family. It was the 90’s so brass was a very popular accent metal for accessories, chandeliers, door knobs, lamps, vases, etc. Win-win.
A little research revealed that I had purchased an antique Asian noodle vendor basket! Beyond that, I’m not really sure about its use. A little lamp on the side I assume was so the vendor can work at night. The bottom was probably used for coals to keep everything warm, but I can’t imagine carrying around a metal basket with hot coals in it : ) The long rectangular box was probably intended for money. I would use the other little box for my iPhone, lipstick and keys, but guessing that wasn’t its original use. I have seen several brass antique noodle vendor baskets on E-bay, but they lack information on the details of how it was used. Most of them are at least 100 years old.
Have you ever bought something at an antique store or flea market and had to guess its purpose, origin or ethnicity? I have decided it is a good idea-if nothing else it is always a conversation starter when people see my antique brass Asian noodle vendor basket.