Okada Hyōkan I 初代 岡田表寛 (1904-1969)

Gold Lacquer Natsume with Chrysanthemum, with Appraisal by the 15th Head of the Urasenke Tea Ceremony School, Hōunsai (*1923)

Inv. Nr. #19.020
Date Taishō or early Shōwa period
Material Wood, red lacquer, gold, gold powder
Dimensions H 7,6  x Diam. 7,4 cm

Comes with fitted signed and sealed wooden box, with an appraisal by Urasenke grand master Hōunsai (*1923).

Price: EUR 6,000

Okada Hyōkan I was a Kyōto artist following the tradition of Kimura Hyōsai (1818–1885), founder of the Hyō-school (Hyō-ha) – which is regarded as one of the main schools of Kyōto lacquer (the so called Kyōnuri). His real name was Kawase Shigetarō and he founded his own tradition under the artist name Hyōkan. Today, his workshop, Hyōkan-dō, is working in the fourth generation. The tea caddy presented here is a very rare and excellent early example by the founding father of this important Kyōto lacquer family.


To create this extraordinary work, a red lacquer foundation was applied over a wooden core into which the artist carefully sprinkled the finest gold powder. After polishing the surface, the gorgeous color effect is reminiscent of the color of autumn leaves turning from golden yellow to deep red. The inside of the container is densely covered with gold powder on a black background. Rims in gold.


The classic motif of chrysanthemums blooming on a bamboo fence is applied in Takamaki-e, giving the decoration a three-dimensional effect. The motif refers to the famous "Poem of Homecoming" (Chin. Guiqulaici) by the famous Tang Chinese poet Tao Yuanming (365-427). The poem describes the poet's dramatic decision as a government official, frustrated by corruption and politics, to abandon his government career in the city and pursue a reclusive Daoist life of self-cultivation in the countryside. He retreats to his home in the mountains and to rural life. Thus, the chrysanthemum is often seen as a symbol of tranquil beauty and the pleasure of sincerity. The motif has been popular in Japan throughout history since the Heian period (794-1185).


The tea caddy comes with original, fitted wooden box, signed by Hyōkan and sealed: Shisshō Okada Hyōkan zō in. Inside the box's lid is an inscription by the 15th head (iemoto) of the Urasenke tea ceremony school, Hōunsai (*1923): Kiku maki-e dai-natsume, Konichi ("Large, gold lacquer tea caddy [decorated with] chrysanthemums"), and his kaō in red lacquer on the inside of the lid of the tea caddy.