Tanabe Chikuunsai II 二代 田辺竹雲斎 (1910-2000)

Bamboo Flower Basket in Chinese Style

Inv. Nr. #19.013
Date Shōwa period (1926-1989), 1950s
Material Bamboo, rattan, lacquer
Dimensions H 41,1 x W 24,3 x D 18,3 cm

Comes with fitted, signed and sealed wooden box.

Price on request

Traditional well balanced Chinese style bamboo flower basket with rattan wrapped handle. The mat-plaited wall ends in a wide open mouth with a rattan-wrapped rim. The handle is beautifully woven into the side of the vessel and ends near the base with an elaborate strap. The basket rests on a ring made of a single bent bamboo cane. The base is made in chrysanthemum weave with a variation of open work and parallel weave, crossed by a flat piece of bamboo in which the artist has carved his signature. The basket comes together with an otoshi (water and flower container) made of a cut piece of bamboo, faceted and lacquered, and an original wooden box, inscribed, signed and sealed.

Chikuunsai is one of the most famous names in Japanese bamboo art. Tanabe Chikuunsai I (1877-1937), rightly regarded as one of the founders of modern Japanese bamboo weaving, started the family business by becoming an independent artist in 1901 after an apprenticeship with Wada Wachisai I, who gave him one of his own former names: Chikuunsai ("Studio of the Bamboo Cloud"). Along with Iizuka Rōkansai and Yamamoto Chikuryōsai I, "Chikuunsai, Master of the West" was one of the bamboo artists even mentioned by the German architect and design theorist Bruno Taut for his exceptional artistic abilities.


Born in 1910 in Sakai City, Osaka, Chikuunsai II studied with his father from an early age. He first exhibited his works at the Teiten National Fine Art Exhibition in 1931. After the death of Chikuunsai I in 1937, Chikuunsai II took over the family name and began to work for a wider audience with frequent national and international exhibitions. Mostly admired for his personal style of openwork hexagonal weaving, the work shown here exemplifies his excellent minute technical skills in rendering the more austere, classical Chinese style baskets. He passed the name Chikuunsai on to his eldest son in 1991. Now in its fourth generation, Chikuunsai has become one of the most important names for bamboo works in the globalized art world.

For further reading and references see for example Joe Earle: Baskets. Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art 1850-2015, John Adamson Dist A/C (2018).

Signed underneath: Chikuunsai tsukuru (Made by Chikuunsai)

Box signed: Tekisuikyo Chikuunsai tsukuru (Made by Tekisuikyo Chikuunsai)


Box inscription: Karamono-utsushi hiroguchi hanakago (Chinese style flower basket with wide mouth).