JAPANESE BAMBOO BASKETS
Flower Basket of Broad Bamboo by Tanaka Kosai
Tanaka Kosai / 田中篁斎
Broad Bamboo (mousoudake) Flower Basket
35 x 20.5 x 20 cm
13 7/8 x 8 x 7 7/8
Original signed box + lacquered water container
Original wrapping cloth
Tanaka Kosai was an expansive artist of the Kansai area, but this basket is very much in the Tokyo style. It is purely architectural, and like the best architecture, its complexity is understated. The precise flat- and rounded-form composed from wide strips of bleached bamboo is ineffably modern, sophisticated, Bauhaus-esque. And yet the basket also appears pre-industrial, as its basic form also calls to mind the traditional utilitarian bamboo boxes used to carry vegetables or miscellaneous goods around the household, and the time in which such useful things were made on the spot of materials readily at-hand.
Tanaka Kosai was apprentice to Kameyama Kochikusai and based in the Kyoto and Osaka area. His known works are relatively few but always impressive. For three remarkable works see his work accepted to the 2nd Nitten exhibition in 1946, now included in the Abbey Collection of Bamboo Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Plate 60 in Masters of Bamboo: Artistic Lineages in the Lloyd Cotsen Japanese Basket Collection, (M. Rinne, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2007) and Plate 45 in Japanese Bamboo Baskets: Meiji, Modern, Contemporary (M. Moroyama, Kodansha Press USA, 2007).