JAPANESE BAMBOO BASKETS

Tall Hat-shaped Flower Basket by Tanabe Chikuunsai II

Tanabe Chikuunsai II / 二代田辺竹雲斎 
1910-2000
Tall Hat-shaped Thousand-line Flower Basket
30 x 34 x 34 cm
11.8 x 13.4 x 13.4 in
Original box + lacquered water container

Tanabe Chikuunsai II (born Tanabe Toshio) can be considered as one of the principal figures linking classical and modern bamboo basketry. His flower baskets such as the one seen here in the delightful form of a courtly woman’s hat, are abstract in a way both archaic and contemporary.

 

Trained in the traditional techniques since childhood in the studio of his father (Tanabe Chikuunsai I, 1877-1937, one of the first generation of ‘professional’ flower basket artists of 20th century Japan), whose formal baskets still exceed the capacities of almost all other bamboo artists, Chikuunsai II specialized in two techniques seen here: mat-plaiting found in the lower portions of this basket, and the ‘thousand line’ construction seen above.

 

In both cases, bamboo must be meticulously prepared into long, exceedingly fine lengths that are always at risk of cracking or breaking under tension. In such skilled hands, these techniques allowed Chikuunsai II to work seamlessly between traditional and modern forms, creating baskets like this one with a very contemporary feel suited to households of post-War Japan.