Rare early work by Hayakawa Shōkosai IV (1902-1975). Shōkosai IV's has been trained under his father, Hayakawa Shōkosai III (1864-1922), a very strict teacher who destroyed all of his sons works during his training. However, Shōkosai's life was also marked by the early death of his father in 1922, which put him then suddenly in the position of the official heir of the family workshop.
This basket for serving food or sweets (morimono-kago) is signed and dated to winter of 1926 (Taishō hei'in chūtō). It is therefor a very rare early work that shows already the ripe talent of the young Shōkosai. Resting on a flat hexagonal woven base, the walls where knitted by finely split bamboo stripes in twill plating. The handle is attached by two benched and twisted young bamboo stems which gives the otherwise strict Chinese appearance of the basket a more informal, Japanese note.
The Shōkosai line is regarded as the founding fathers of modern bamboo art in Japan and Shōkosai IV had the important role not only to save the traditional craft though the turbulent times of world war II, but also to revive the business in the days after. After the war, Shokōsai IV decided to move the family business to Kyōto and to focused mainly on making baskets for green tea ceremonies (both sencha and chanoyu).
For further reading and reference works see: Joe Earle: Baskets. Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art 1850-2015, John Adamson Dist A/C (2018).