Flower Basket by Kadota Niko
8 x 10.5 x 10.5 in
20.5 x 27 x 27 cm
Box signed by descendent of Iwao Kounsai, Kadota's teacher
Kadota Niko was a student of Iwao Kounsai (1901-1992) and later mentor to nephew Monden Kogyoku (b. 1916) and Honda Syoryu (b. 1951). Niko’s works are not often found outside of Kyushu, but his presence there is formidable. He produced many works over his long lifetime and seems to have been especially adept at linking ideas long found in the traditional bamboo crafts of far western Japan into the specialized realm of the fine arts. Again and again one notes in his work the aesthetic and ideational links between ‘high’ and ‘folk’ art, his pieces conducing the wild energy of bamboo into forms only realizable through the highest levels of hand skill and aesthetic ambition.
This bold basket presents an excellent example of his intentions. An energetic, expressive weave and lovely honey color are its dominant features. At the same time, Niko has chosen to constrain the body’s energy through a loose hexagonal form. Wispy lengths wind away from the body into the neck, whose measured weave is also hexagonal. Both rim and foot are coiled in flowing spirals.
Basketmakers have sometimes gloried in the ability to tame bamboo, to walk it along a fine line. Here Niko seems to indicate that the nature of bamboo itself is finally untamable, and it lives most freely in the wild.