Kake-hanaire called “Shime”



Kake-hanaire called “Shime”
Hanging basket
Iizuka Rōkansai (1890-1958)
Bamboo madake
Japan, Showa period (1926-1989), ca. 1950
H. 7.9 in (20cm) – W. 4.9 in (12.5cm) – L. 3 ½ in (9cm)

Iizuka Rōkansai was a famous bamboo artist who had lived for three periods from Meiji to Showa period. Born in Tochigi prefecture, he learned the bamboo work technique from his father, Iizuka Hōsai. It is said that he heightened the bamboo work into a level of art. He won the award in the International Exhibition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts of Paris in 1925. As an artist, Rokansai gave his pieces elegant titles showing natural phenomena. In 1933, German architect Bruno Taut visited Rokansai. Bruno Taut admired Rokansai saying, “In Japan, there is Tanabe Chikuunsai in the west, and Iizuka Rokansai in the East” and he proclaimed Rokansai’s works as “modern”.
This kake-hanaire is in an extremity of simplicity, and a ribbon in bamboo heightens this common shaped basket into an unusual piece. The chipped trace the right side which continues to the backside was most probably made by Rōkansai himself on purpose. It is obvious that this trace makes this piece a unique masterpiece. Shime means “occupy”, “tighten”, or “wring” in Japanese. It is appropriate to call this piece which let the viewer’s feel refreshing the mind with high tension. His signature is made on the backside.