Tanabe Chikuunsai I (1877-1937)



Bamboo basket for ikebana
Shichiku bamboo (black bamboo)
Signed: Chikuunsai zō (made by Chikuunsai)
Tanabe Chikuunsai I (1877-1937)
Dated April 1923
H:47cm, D:23cm
Tomobako, original box signed by the artist
Saku-ami Yu Gumori Shiki Hanakago / Taisho Shouyou Daienken Shoka, Kaifunanso Chikuunsai korewo tsukuru
Taisho Mizunotoi (1923) Yayoi (April), Chikuunsai utsusu (painted by)
Saku (gozame) weave

Tanabe Chikuunsai I along with Maeda Chikuho I were the leading figures weaving bamboo prior to World War II. Competitors working in Osaka, they produced basketry for exhibition and were patronized by the highest levels of Japanese society, including the Imperial Household Agency.

Shichiku bamboo has another name, “kurochiku”. Generally, it is more known as “kurochiku”, but the Tanabe family respected the way of Bunjin style, so they use the word “shichiku”, literally ‘violet bamboo’, which was a preferable word for Bunjin because the violet color is regarded as a noble color in Japan since the ancient times. Violet-like black is often called murasaki (= ‘shi’ of shichiku, means violet) also.