Stag reishi obi hasami - Kokusai
A slender, smooth bodied dragon wraps itself around the cap of a reishi fungus. The elongated snout coils in towards its gaping mouth, while its rear leg and tail curl to form an illusion of a mirror image and creating a mokugyo-like shape. The archaic rain dragon is totemic in Kokusai’s designs and appears repeatedly in his work. Paul Moss’s major study, Kokusai the Genius published in 2016, shows four reishi-shaped works that echo this particular design (nos. 316-319). The base of the stem is pierced with an i-no-me (boar’s eye), an inverted heart-shape, emblematic of unflinching courage.
The auspicious reishi fungus, symbolising long life, grows with a natuarally short stem, but under certain circumstances this can lengthen and is referred to as an ‘antler’ reishi. Kokusai, quite appropriately, exploits the natural shape of the antler to fashion an obi-hasami that also serves as a sceptre. In this example he has created an extra expression of his characteristic wit, the design of the head also suggesting an hallucogenic face with vortex eyes.