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Eggplant-shaped Vessel by Kosuge Kogetsu


Kosuge Kogetsu


Eggplant-shaped Flower Vessel

14.5 x 7 x 6.25 in
36 x 19 x 16 cm​
Original box signed and sealed by the artist
Original lacquered water container

This beautiful basket is both formal and warm, like a portrait of a favorite relative. The basket is made in the form of an eggplant, a royal among vegetables. The finely woven base pattern gives the surface a naturalistic depth. The handle is just lovely.

The integrity and humor with which bamboo artists approach such everyday objects—eggplants, potatoes, the grassy packaging made for fermented soy beans—is charming and yet also bewildering to those for whom art should search for ‘higher’ truths and ‘deeper’ individual expression. The bewilderment increases as one finds the same artists were just as able to create compelling ‘abstract’ works. In bamboo artists have been able to range across and link together such apparently distinct aesthetic intentions-—and to do so with such fluency that one is obliged to reconsider the initial rationale for their separation. And does not this reconsideration of the traditional and the abstract throw the history of the 'dialogue' between Western and Eastern art into question? Who has been saying what to whom, exactly?

Kosuge Kogetsu is the son and student of Kosuge Chikudo (1895-1966) of Niigata. Chikudo was the elder of a relatively small number of bamboo artists of the region who achieved outsize influence in the world of bamboo art. Located on the Sea of Japan, Niigata is a place of superlatively dynamic natural energy. It has high mountains, thick forests and wide lowland plains run through with powerful rivers. It is tectonically active and full of hot springs, with long, snow-filled winters and short, hot, fecund summers in which much work must be done.

The region has been home to the people of the archipelago for thousands of years. Jomon ceramics achieved unparalleled development there. The bamboo art of the region also has notable quality, with some special techniques and ideas developed in relation to several local varieties of bamboo found there, as well as clear dialogue with the bamboo basketry of Japan’s northern and eastern territories. Throughout his life, Kogetsu’s fine works were especially prized by tea practitioners for their sensible understatement and quiet confidence, and are not often found at public market.

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