JAPANESE BAMBOO BASKETS
Flower Basket with Windows by Wada Waichisai III
Wada Waichisai III / 三代和田和一斎
Flower Basket with Windows
57 x 18 x 18 cm
22.5 x 7 x 7 in
Original box + lacquered water container
This basket is no longer available
The more one sees of Wada Waichisai's III's baskets, the more impressive a figure he becomes. Born into the field, direct descendent of the single-most influential Kansai-area basketmaker, and certainly known and respected by all others, he spent a lifetime in bamboo. And yet, as is so common in this field, only the outline of his life is known today. He was born into the Sakai City community of bamboo artists, working in the family studio through his youth. His early individual works were signed "Ichisai", a curious name. He must have assumed the Waichisai name on the death of his father in 1933, and worked for only a few more years in Sakai before the war forced him to relocate.
Like Sakaguchi Sounsai, Waichisai III decamped to Kobe during the war; there he established the 'West-facing studio' at which he would work for the rest of his life. Most of his major works can therefore be dated to the post-war period. These baskets are inevitably bold in form and use of material, and full also with reference to the deep wells of East Asian thought. They are formidable works of a scholar's hand. In bamboo, perhaps only Iizuka Rokansai was as intellectual an artist.
This basket features broad lengths of deeply-smoked susudake--the material Waichisai III seems to have preferred. The body is simple, composed of a single open plait, creating a dark geometrical pattern of great depth. The handle is of lovely sinuous hobichiku, prize material of the Kanto region. Waichisai III was an innovator within his milieu, creating substantial scholar's baskets like this one for those who, even through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, never lost sight of the essential Japanese aesthetic traditions.
Wada Waichisai III's baskets are found in each of the major collections and exhibitions of bamboo art, including at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, which holds a similar basket entitled Flower Raft under Object Number: 2006.3.18