Tanabe Chikuunsai II (1910–2000)
Item number: T-4288
Size: H 5.9" x W 16.7" x L 6.7" (15 x 42.5 x 17 cm)
Showa era (1926 –1989), 1945 –1956
Bamboo, rattan; openwork hexagonal uroko- ami-style plaiting, wrapping, knotting; faceted and lacquered bamboo otoshi
Signed underneath: Chikuunsai tsukuru (Made by Chikuunsai)
Fitted kiri (paulownia) wood tomobako storage box inscribed outside Funagata uroko-ami hanakago (Boat-shaped flower basket with fish-scale plaiting); signed inside Tekisuikyo Chikuunsai tsukuru (Made by Tekisuikyo Chikuunsai); seals: Denri no in (Seal of Denri), Chikuunsai ; blue cotton fukusa (wrapper) with red seal Chikuunsai.
Born in Sakai City, Osaka, Chikuunsai II studied from an early age under his father, Chikuunsai I. Using the name Shōchikuunsai (“Little Chikuunsai”) from 1925, he first showed his work at the Teiten national fine arts exhibition in 1931. Following his father’s death in 1937, Chikuunsai II succeeded to the leadership of the Tanabe family and began to exhibit more frequently, both domestically and internationally. He is admired especially for his personal style of openwork hexagonal plaiting, known sometimes as uroko-ami ( sh-scale plaiting).
In contrast to standard kikkō-ami (“tortoiseshell” or hexagonal plaiting), where the horizontals are typically positioned just above or below the intersections of the diagonals, creating six tiny triangles around each hexagon, in uroko-ami the horizontals coincide exactly with the intersections, creating hexagons made up of six triangles. The airy, lightweight effect of uroko-ami, made from extremely thin bamboo strips, appealed greatly to Chikuunsai II’s clients and he used it frequently, especially in his later period. In other versions of this idiosyncratic basket type, with the handle placed toward one end, Chikuunsai employed the senjō-gumi (“thousand-line” or parallel-line) technique, which produces a similarly transparent effect.