|Flower arranging basket low, flaring
circular form set on four angular feet with a loop-style handle. Of
split, smoked bamboo and branch bamboo in the handle, the knotting of
stained rattan. Signed on the reverse with an incised signature by the
artist: Rokurokusai Kore wo Tsukuru or Made by Rokurokusai (Mizutani
Rokurokusai, 1907 – 1977).
With the tomobako or original box, inscribed on the exterior of the
lid: Matsugawa-bishi Moyo, Suehiro-gata Hana Kago or Stylized Pine Bark
(Diamond) Design, Auspiciously Opening Flower Basket; and signed:
Rokurokusai Tsukuru or Made by Rokurokusai, and sealed.
On a section of the handle bent along one side is an inscription:
Jin-Gi-Rei-Chi-Shin, which refers to the five Confucian virtues that
human beings are supposed to uphold: Affection (Jin), Justice (Gi),
Gratitude (Rei), Wisdom (Chi), and Truth (Shin). It is recorded in the
Tsu Family Records that five years before he died, Todo Takatora, the
first generation leader of the Tsu Clan, wrote these five kanji
characters in his last will and testament to his son Takatsugi, who
became the second generation leader of the clan. He entitled them:
Commandments Befitting a General.
Mizutani Rokurokusai was born in Mie Prefecture to a family of bamboo
artists originally patronized by the local lords of the Tsu Clan.
Rokurokusai moved to Osaka to work and he is said to have exhibited
Rokurokusai employed a square plaiting across the base changing to mat
plaiting as it rises on the sides. This he finished at the top with a
delicate border of twining. Narrow stays in vertical array rise up the
sides in flaring openwork, bound at the top with another broad section
of mat plaiting. Lines of stitched insect wrapping (kakemushi-maki) and
jogging insect wrapping (mushi-maki) executed in two sizes of thinly
cut rattan ornament these open fence areas on the front and back faces
with a diamond-form, lozenge motif. Overlays of wide bamboo cross on
the base and rise up each corner, anchored with ornamental lines of
insect wrapping, crossed lines of insect stitch (mushi-kagari) and at
the center of the base where they cross with a large spiral cross knot
(juji-uzumaki-musubi). Two narrower bands of bamboo encircle the rim,
joined by double lines of simple wrapping (bo-maki). Across the top
bends a large branch of honey-toned bamboo with four finger twigs.
Lines of simple wrapping, ornamental cross knots, and a large double
interlocking V knot anchor the handle.
Rokurokusai creates a contrasting architecture of closed and open-work
plaiting. The pine bark lozenges suggest longevity and echo the
auspicious suehiro form. The sides arc up at the base in a gentle curve
similar to that of the handle, and the overall form contrasts a round
rim with squared base. The dark coloration of the body and rattan
knotting plays against the warm, natural form of the bamboo branching
in the handle, its finger branches dramatically angling out from the
stem, curled back to the rim on one side, and reaching across in
parallel on the other.
9 ½” high x 17 ¾” wide x 17” deep.