Flower arranging basket
in a asymmetrical, cylindrical form with a loop-style handle. Signed on the
reverse with an incised signature by the artist: Rōkansai Saku or Made by
Rōkansai (Iizuka Rōkansai, the gō or art name of Iizuka Yanosuke, 1890 – 1958).
Shōwa era, circa 1924 – 1930.
With the tomobako or
original box, inscribed on the exterior of the lid: Hana Kago or Flower Basket;
and on the reverse of the lid: Sato no Kaori or Fragrance of the Country, and
signed: Rōkansai Saku or Made by Rōkansai, and sealed. Note: the signature and
seal are consistent with those illustrated in Iizuka Rōkansai: Master of Modern
Bamboo Crafts, pages 118 – 119, upper and lower register, for 1936 – 1949.
Rōkansai creates a
basket to make us think of the countryside. The word sato conveys more than
rural connotations; it speaks to the land where one’s family lived, with
overtures of “old homeland,” of grandparents and childhood. Weaving with richly
toned purple-red bamboo, Rōkansai loosely plaits in a variation of hemp leaf
pattern (asa-no-ha). The form echoes that of vegetable baskets used on farms. To
suggest the informal, relaxed milieu, he skews the form out of true, compressing
it and allowing it to swell out on one side with irregular faces. The three
horizontal stays he overlaps informally so that the width doubles on the top and
bottom on the front, and the center on the back. Roughly cut nodes texture the
stays in an irregular scatter on every side. Loosely bundled lengths of bamboo
bind the rim, wrapped with diagonal simple wrapping (bō-maki). Four long
sections loop through the front and back sides, then braid together diagonally
to form the lop-sided, leaning handle.
To Rōkansai’s educated
contemporaries, this contrast of richly colored, gleaming material and
infor-mality would have suggested the rustic aesthetic of the tea room. The
prose poem he weaves, an affectionate image of one’s grandparent’s farm in the
country would have echoed more poetically in their minds.
With the original
otoshi or water container, cut from a cylinder of timber bamboo, the surface
lacquered dark brown.
9 ¼” high x 12 ½” wide
x 11 ¼” deep.