Ichihara Kaunsai’s reputation among bamboo artists in Kyushu—one of the centers of bamboo art in Japan—is exemplary. Less well-known internationally than many artists of subsequent generations, he was the teacher of Shiotsuki Juran (1948-2016), another artist whose hand-skills were considered remarkable even among this group of preternaturally talented craftspeople. Kaunsai's made baskets of startling originality and structural integrity. His works received special commendations in local, regional and national exhibitions for decades on end.
This basket of hexagonal form has the pure color and stature of a natural monolith. Made of perfectly cured madake, the signal material of Kyushu bamboo art and implements for generations, its most notable quality is the fine herringbone pattern--the eye follows its vertical lines easily. On second look, however, this vertical pattern also simultaneously dances horizontally, and the initial sense of verticality is transformed as the eye gathers a new sense of this basket’s depth, proportion and action.
Flower basket by Ichihara Kaunsai