Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)

Tokyo, circa 1880

A miniature hand-warmer brazier lacquered in imitation of pottery and decorated with unohana (Deutzia crenata) growing against a simple bamboo fence and silhouetted against the moon.

Signed with a ‘rat’s tooth’ incised signature: Zeshin. The base of the brazier signed: Shinjiro in a manner seeming to imitate a potter’s signature carved into wet clay, possibly an expression of homage to the Kyoto raku master, Chojiro.

The hakogaki outer lid is inscribed 是真翁作、卯の花蒔絵、手炉。佐具郎識。印:さくろう

Zeshin-ō saku. Unohana makie, teaburi. Sakurō shiki, with the seal Sakurō (in hiragana script).

[Made by (an old man) Zeshin, Makie (lacquer) koro with Unohana design, authenticated by Sakuro]

The inside of the cover inscribed: 真作無疑也。竹真。印:有敬 (荘司竹真=古満竹真)

Shinsaku utagai naki nari. Chikushin with the seal Yūkei (?) [This is undoubtedly an authentic work.  Examined by Chikushin, with the seal Yukei (? )]

The brazier is accompanied by two further items: a miniature suzuribako and a pair of miniature paper hina dolls, their robes decorated with a wisteria design, each in a hakogaki with an attestation from Chikushin that they were ‘cherished items’ belonging to Old Man Zeshin.

A larger hakogaki contains all three items, the outer cover inscribed: 是真翁作。卯ノ花蒔絵、火鉢。  是真翁、遺愛品、二点。

Zeshin-ō saku. Unohana makie, hibachi. Zeshin-ō, iai-hin niten. [Hand-brazier, makie (lacquer) design of the unohana flower (Deutzia crenata) made by Zeshin. Two other cherished items belonged to the late master Zeshin]. The inside of this cover has an attestation by Ikeda Sensai, the adopted son of Ikeda Taishin.

Height: 3.1cm

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