Spider hanaike (flower container) - Kinoshita Chisai
Hiroshima, circa 1910
A hanaike (flower container) in the shape of a takenoko (bamboo shoot) decorated in takamorie with globular-bodied spiders exploring the surface of the vessel. Signed in red lacquer: Kinjo- Ikkokusai 金城一國斎 (who authenticated the item). The accompanying hakogaki (storage box) lid inscribed on the exterior: 蜘蛛高盛絵花器 “Kumo takamorie kaki” [Spiders, takamorie, flower vessel. The authentication on the inside reads: 木下智斎作、金城一國斎、麗暁鑑之、印: 金城 &一國斎
“Kinoshita Chisai saku, Kinjo Ikkokusai, Reigyo kore o kansu, seals “Kinjo” and “Ikkokusai” [This work is by Kinoshita Chisai, authenticated by Kinjo Ikkokusai, art name Reigyo, with seals Kinjo and Ikkokusai]. The spider is considered a felicitous creature. It’s name in Chinese (zhizhu) being a homophone for happiness.
The son of Kinjo Ikkokusai (Ikkokusai III), Kinoshita Chisai did not succeed to his father’s name, which went instead to his younger brother, who became Ikkokusai IV. Ikkokusai III’s death only preceded that of his older son by only five years and it may be that Kinoshita Chisai was no longer in good health at that stage. Kinjo Ikkokusai perfected the takamorie design technique and won an award for excellence at the Kyoto Exhibition in Meiji 9 (1876). His reputation for work in this technique grew and at least 14 items were produced by him for the Meiji emperor. The current generation practicing this rare technique, Kinjo Ikkokusai VII, was designated as a Hiroshima Prefectural Intangible Cultural Property Holder in “Ikkokusai Takamorie” techniques in 2011.