Flower arranging basket in a tapering rounded form with a loop style handle. Of
smoked, split bamboo, lacquered and split bamboo, and rattan. Signed on the
reverse with an incised signature by the artist: Hōsai Saku or Made by Hōsai (Iizuka
Hōsai II, 1872 – 1934). Early Shōwa era, circa 1926 – 1934.
With the tomobako or original box, inscribed on the exterior of the lid: Kochiku
Fukuro-gata Hana Kago or Antique Bamboo, Bag-form Flower Basket; and on the
reverse: Hosai Ōkina or (Made by)Old Man Hōsai, and sealed.
With the original tsutsu or water container for the interior of the basket, cut
from a cylinder of bamboo, the exterior surface cut away and scored vertically,
then lightly lacquered a red-brown and the scored lines brushed with dust over
thin lacquer in hokori-ire technique (which often employs a tonoko powder made
from either ground stone or baked clay), and the interior lined with copper.
Hōsai cut the bamboo for the body of this basket into narrow widths, which he
then stripped of their glossy, satin skin. This textured the surface, which he
later lacquered a glowing, red-gold tone. The lower part of the basket he weaves
in a simple, square plaiting that runs diagonally to the base, em-ploying four
stays in alignment instead of one. At the shoulder this weaving turns into basic
twill plait-ing and then back to a simple square plaiting at the neck (though
here using only single strands of bamboo). The mouth finishes in a seamless
insect wrapping (mushi maki), in double rows, before fall-ing into a double
woven interior face. From the base rise six pairs of overlaid sections of smoked
bam-boo that curl over an overlaid horizontal collar of wider bamboo at the
shoulder. These vertical frames are held tightly to the basket’s face each by
two of the diagonal plaits, though the placement jumps up and down and the
direction of the diagonals holding the overlays varies from stay to stay. Two
sections of very richly toned smoke bamboo twist loosely over and under each
other to form the collar. From the sides two sections of tubular, branch bamboo
rise in an arcing handle to meet together at the crest, joined by three sections
of insect stitch (mushi-kagari). Similar knots bind the lower parts of the
handle to the sides of the basket. Each section of the handle is offset so that
the nodes while remaining in relation to one another rise and fall diagonally
from one to the other melodically.
The glowing color of the antique, smoked bamboo overlays contrasts with the
textured, matte surface of the body to beautiful effect. Elegant proportions and
weaving balance the materials perfectly.
13 ¼” high x 11 ¼” wide x 10 5/8” deep.