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Morikago by Yokota Hosai

Yokota Hosai (Minesai) / 横田峰斎

1899 – 1975

Flower Basket

26 x 26 x 24.5 cm

10 ¼ x 10 ¼ x 9 ⅝ in

Original box signed and sealed by the artist

An unusual low morikago, or fruit basket, with lacquered paneling and extensive rattanwork, made by Yokota Hosai. Also known as Yokota Minesai, Hosai was an artist of consummate skill and aesthetic accomplishment. On viewing a dozen of his works, each so distinct and yet so complete, one can scarcely believe they were made by the same hand. As a Tokyo-based bamboo artist, Hosai is overshadowed by the Iizuka family line, with its generations and descendants, including Iizuka Rokansai (1890-1958) and his son Iizuka Shokansai (1919-2004), who received the National Living Treasure designation.


Hosai did not receive such public accolades, though he studied for a time under Hayashi Shogetsusai (1911-1986, teacher also to Honma Kazuaki [b. 1930] and Baba Shodo [1925-1996], among others), collaborated with Rokansai and Shogetsusai to promote bamboo art, and in the post-War period exhibited at the highest levels in Tokyo for decades on end.


Such is the capriciousness of fame, as Hosai can be esteemed as one of the earliest and most accomplished modernists in bamboo art. His friendship and creative dialogue with Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), who also collaborated with Le Corbosier (1887-1965) and Jean Prouve (1901-1984), is one of the most tantalizing but least-explored aesthetic links in 20th century bamboo art. 

This basket exemplifies Hosai's free-ranging creative imagination. With rows of fine straight lines set at angled planes, richly lacquered base panel in the embroidered weave developed by Iizuka Rokansai, and unusual geometric frame, it is both technical and organic. The overall form is like no other basket in our experience. It is a retro-futuristic, a time-traveller leaping between some unknown ancient world and the space of early Star Wars.

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