SINGAPORE – If you thought this “1960s Chinese traditional fruit basket” selling for C$68.45 (S$72) on Amazon looked like something else not usually found on the dinner table, you’d be right.
The item is in fact a chamber pot, or a spittoon, commonly used in Chinese households as a mobile toilet for people to defecate or spit into. And it is being sold online for more than 10 times its normal price in China.
Similar spittoons are available for sale on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao for just 28 yuan (S$5.70).
The enamel product adorned with a pair of mandarin ducks and the Chinese words symbolising “double happiness” was advertised on Amazon as being an antique with a wide range of uses, from being a vegetable and fruit holder to an ice bucket, or a decorative display stand. It was also recommended as a good gift for house-warming and weddings.
The listing described the item as antique Chinese fruit basket with “beautiful colours and patterns” that represent “traditional Chinese culture” and “symbolise the happiness of life”. Its “large storage space can store any fruit”, it added.
The listing went viral after an Internet user posted it on Chinese social media marvelling at how the humble Chinese chamber pot was being so highly regarded by Western buyers.
The hashtag “the other ways a spittoon is used” has received more than 50 million views and comments on Sina Weibo, the Global Times reported.
“US$60? I can’t believe my childhood potty is more valuable than I am,” one Internet user remarked.
“I hope no one from other countries ever buys this ‘basket’ and sends it as a gift to their Chinese friends because no Chinese people would feel happy if they see a delicately packed spittoon with fruits in it,” another said.
A third Internet user wrote: “It is actually interesting to see how things can be used differently in other cultures. As long as the buyers like it, it shouldn’t matter it is ‘originally’ used for.”
The listing has since been removed from Amazon.