Hayakawa Shōkosai IV 四代 早川尚古斎 (1902-1975)

Bamboo Basket for Serving Food or Sweets

Inv. Nr. #20.022
Date Taishō period, dated Winter 1926
Material Bamboo, rattan, lacquer
Dimensions H 27,5 x Diam. 32 cm

Comes with fitted, signed and sealed wooden box.

Price on request

Rare early work by Hayakawa Shōkosai IV (1902-1975). Shōkosai IV was trained by his father, Hayakawa Shōkosai III (1864-1922), a very strict teacher who destroyed all his son's works during his training. Shōkosai's life was also marked by his father's early death in 1922, which suddenly made him the official heir to the family workshop.

This basket for serving food or sweets (morimono-kago) is signed and dated to the winter of 1926 (Taishō hei'in chūtō). It is therefore a very rare early work that already shows the mature talent of the young Shōkosai. It rests on a flat hexagonal woven base, the walls of which have been woven with finely split bamboo strips in a twill pattern. The handle is attached by two bent and twisted young bamboo stems, giving the otherwise austere Chinese appearance of the basket a more informal, Japanese note.

The Shōkosai line is considered the founding fathers of modern bamboo art in Japan, and Shōkosai IV played an important role in not only saving the traditional craft through the turbulent times of World War II, but also reviving the business in the days after. After the war, Shokōsai IV decided to move the family business to Kyōto and concentrate on making baskets for green tea ceremonies (both Sencha and Chanoyu).

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