Iizuka Hosai II (1872–1934)

Handled Flower Basket

Iizuka Hosai II (1872–1934)

Item number: T-4226
Size: H 13.2" x W 11.4" (33.6 x 28.9 cm)
Era: Showa era (1926-89)

Other views

Taisho (1912 –1926) or Showa (1926 –1989) era, 1920s
Hōbichiku bamboo, nemagari bamboo, rattan, dust, lacquer; twill plaiting, free-style plaiting using unsplit branch bamboo, bending

Signed underneath: Hōsai 鳳斎

Fitted kiri (paulownia) wood storage box

Hōsai II was the eldest son of Iizuka Hōsai I (1851– 1916), a traditional basket maker based in Tochigi Prefecture. In 1910 he moved to Tokyo with his father and younger brothers including Yanosuke, the future Rōkansai who would go on to become perhaps the greatest of all Japanese bamboo artists. In 1915 the three artists—Hōsai I (by now renamed Hōō), Hōsai II, and Yanosuke (then aged 25)—received a prestigious commission to make baskets for the sacred garments to be worn by the Taisho Emperor when performing the Daijōsai (first ceremonial offering of rice) during his delayed en- thronement ceremonies (he had actually acceded to the throne in 1912).1 These were executed in very formal ajiro-ami (twill plaiting), in which strips going in one diagonal direction “float” over multiple strips going in the other direction, creating a herringbone effect. Fascinated by the potential of this technique, both Hōsai and Rōkansai would often use variations of ajiro-ami in their subsequent work.2

The present basket, which may possibly be a piece by Rōkansai that was signed by Hōsai (as he fre- quently did until 1932), enhances the herringbone effect by combining strips of both smoked and unsmoked bamboo. The addition of twigs of bam- boo—either completely uncut or simply halved— adds a rustic, informal effect. Another example, similar but without a handle, is in the Tochigi Pre- fectural Museum of Fine Arts, and another, with a handle but with standard split bamboo in place of twigs, is in the Naej Collection.3 


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