Japanese bamboo basketry is one of the most beautiful and overlooked art forms of the 20th century.
Baskets are one of humankind's original technologies. They have been essential to human livelihood and social life for as long as can be known. At the same time, basketry is one of the most ancient arts. Baskets leap quickly into the symbolic realm, linking the quotidian and the cosmogonic, hinting at the enduring role of beauty and art in the human experience.
Japan is one of the world's basketmaking hearths, with rich archaeological records stretching back more than 7000 years. In the 19-20th century, basket makers were scholar-aesthetes working at the confluence of arts surrounding a vibrant tea culture. These skilled individuals were often also practicing poets, painters, calligraphers, musicians, and flower artists, but their special genius was in bamboo. Their knowledge of ancient East Asian art and literature was exceeded only by their hand skill and understanding of bamboo as plant, material, and essential element within everyday life, and their baskets were often full of poetical allusion reaching between these realms. This rich cultural milieu existed for several decades in the 20th century before it dissipated in the industrial cultural economy.
Eocene Arts searches out fine works of bamboo art by the early masters who re-defined this ancient medium for modern times, as well as those who continued to work in their spirit in following decades, and into the present. Our collection features baskets by the primary artists in the field, including Iizuka Hosai II and his brother Iizuka Rokansai, Tanabe Chikuunsai, Hayakawa Shokosai, Wada Waichisai, Yamamoto Shoen, Shono Shounsai, Maeda Chikubosai, and their descendents, including Tanabe Chikuunsai II, Sakaguchi Sounsai, Wada Waichisai II and III, Kosuge Kogetsu, Ishikawa Shoun, Yokota Hosai, Suemura Shobun, Tanaka Kosai, Higashi Takesonosai, and Abe Motoshi, among others.
Our collection is always evolving. Red dots denote works that are no longer available (on mobile devices the dots are sometimes misplaced!). Please contact us to inquire about specific artists or newly arrived works.