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Friday, September 25, 2015

Hayakawa Shōkosai III

It is common for Japanese artists to master several unrelated art forms. The current exhibition in the Japanese Gallery, The Baskets of Hayakawa Shōkosai III, features an artist who was a renowned basket maker as well as an accomplished ink painter, calligrapher, tea master, and flute player. This installation includes an intricately woven bamboo basket and an ink painting of a flower basket by Shōkosai III (1864-1922).

The exacting craft of bamboo basketry was elevated to a high art by the artist’s father, Hayakawa Shōkosai I (1815-1897). An important element in Japanese tea ceremonies, bamboo flower baskets were in particularly high demand in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The bamboo artist is responsible for every step of the process of basket making. There are no shortcuts or ways to mechanize the process and artists serve long apprenticeships. Visitors to this small exhibition will appreciate the skill and artistry of these two very different works.

Image credits:

Hayakawa Shōkosai III, Japanese, 1864-1922, Painting of Basket with Fungus of Immortality and Orchids, Meiji Period (1868-1912); two-panel folding screen; ink and gold dust on paper; Alexander H. Bullock Fund, 2007.167

 Hayakawa Shōkosai III, Japanese, 1864-1922, Flower Basket with Cascading Handle, 1916; bamboo and rattan dyed with plum wood extract; Harriet B. Bancroft Fund, 2007.168

- Curatorial Department

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