“A Thousand Years” Flower Basket with Natural Bamboo Handle
Wada Waichisai III (1899–1975)
Item number: T-4131
Era: Showa era (1926-89)
Kinmeichiku bamboo, rattan; parallel-line construction, twill plaiting, twining, square plaiting, wrapping, knotting
Signed: Waichisai tsukuru (Made by Waichisai)
Fitted wood tomobako storage box inscribed outside Kengai hanakago (Precipice flower basket); inscribed inside Mei Chitose (Named “A Thousand Years”) and signed Nishisetsu fūu jōshi Waichisai (Waichisai, in the moody wind and rain of western Settsu [southeast Hyogo Prefecture]) with seal Waichisai.
Waichisai III was third head of one of the most distinguished of all bamboo-art lineages in the Kansai region, founded in the Meiji era (1868–1912) by Waichisai I. He succeeded to the family name in 1933. The term kengai (precipice) used on the box cover refers to the basket’s tall shape and overhanging rim, features seen in other baskets by this artist. The expression Nishisetsu fūu jōshi, used in the signature, also appears on a storage box inscribed by this artist in the Naej collection, see Naej Collection, Baskets: Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art 1850–2015, forthcoming, 2017, cat. no. 65 (pp. 138–139 and 193). There is some doubt both about the identification of the six characters used and their meaning, but the interpretation given above seems the most plausible, since basketmakers in and around Osaka often used fancy terminology to describe their addresses.