Flower Basket with Side Handles
Iizuka Hōsai II (1872–1934)
Item number: T-4146
Size: H 9.1" x W 12.2" x L 12.2" (23 x 31 x 31 cm)
Era: Showa era (1926-89)
Showa era (1926 –1989), ca. 1931
Susudake bamboo, dust, lacquer; triple twill plaiting (base), free-style compound mat plait- ing, wrapping; vertically scored and lightly lacquered bamboo otoshi (water container) with copper liner
Signed underneath: Hōsai 鳳斎
Fitted kiri (paulownia) wood tomobako storage box inscribed outside Rikyū denrai hanaire utsushi 利休伝来花入写 (Copy of a flower container handed down from Rikyū) and Nagano-shi Agata-machi Miyamoto Misao 長野市懸町宮本操 (Miyamoto Misao, Agata-machi, Nagano City); inscribed inside Kanreki kinen Hōsai-ō kore o saku 還暦紀念 鳳斎 翁作之 (Old man Hōsai made this, celebrating his 60th birthday); seal: Hōsai koji 鳳斎居士 (Hōsai the Hermit)
According to the box inscription, this basket was copied from an original hanaire (flower container) which had once been associated with the great
tea master Sen no Rikyu (1522 –1591). Although the whereabouts of that original are unknown, several features of the present basket accord with the style of rustic-looking baskets that Rikyū is thought to have favored for the display of flowers in the tokonoma (alcove) of a tea room for chanoyu, the Japanese style of formal tea-drinking, during the summer months (at other times, chanoyu mandates the use of a ceramic or bronze vase). These features include the slightly irrregular shape; the relaxed plaiting style which leaves openings
in some places but not in others; the generally modest, unassuming overall appearance of the basket; and the absence of tō (rattan), an imported creeper used for the tight wrappings and knots that characterize baskets for sencha, the Chinese style of tea drinking.
This basket is another from the group made by Iizuka Hōsai II to celebrate his kanreki (sixtieth birthday).