Hanging Flower Basket
Iizuka Rokansai (1890-1958)
Item number: T-4222
Size: H 8.3" x W 4.9" x L 5.1" (21 x 12.5 x 13 cm)
Era: Showa era (1926-89)
Madake bamboo; free-style diagonal plaiting, wrapping; otoshi (water container) made from a lacquered unsplit culm of bamboo
Fitted wood tomobako storage box inscribed outside Hanakago花かこ (Flower basket) and sealed Tōan 濤庵; signed inside Rōkansai saku 琅玕斎作 (Made by Rōkansai) with a seal Rōkansai 琅玕斎
Arguably the most creative and influential of all Japanese bamboo artists, Iizuka Rōkansai was born the youngest son of Iizuka Hōsai I, and began his training in bamboo art under his father at the age of 12. During his teenage years he briefly aspired to become a painter, but soon decided to make it his life’s mission to raise the family craft to a higher level of artistry and refinement. To that end, he immersed himself not just in technical training, but also in the study of Chinese and Japanese literature, as well as calligraphy and other aspects of traditional Japanese art. Rōkansai categorized bamboo art in the same way as calligraphy or flower-arrangement, as either shin (formal), gyō (semiformal), or sō (informal). Although he excelled in all three manners, he described the sō, while superficially relaxed and freestyle, as the most difficult to execute because it demands the greatest clarity of artistic vision; the present work is an outstanding example of sō basketry. By 1910 Rōkansai was already accomplished enough to work on pieces that would be signed by his eldest brother, Hōsai II. He first received public recognition in 1922 when he exhibited at the Peace Memorial Tokyo Exposition, winning a silver medal; he also participated in the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, held in Paris in 1925. He showed at the Teiten national fine arts exhibition and its successors from 1931 until the end of his life.