Nagakura Ken-ichi (b. 1952)

Shaman’s Dwelling
Madake and earth
26 x 40 x 23 cm
10 ¼ x 15 ¾ x 9 inches
With document signed and stamped by Nagakura
This potent vessel is an early work by the solitary iconoclast of Shizuoka. Nagakura says this work was exhibited and sold in Osaka in 1983. While he continues to use—and often achieve elegance with—combinations of earth, root and bamboo, in these early days he was leaping into unknown territory.

This piece was originally formed in bamboo and then caked in earth which was partially scraped away and scored after drying. The satin-like sheen of bamboo against this coarse textured raw earth encases the basket’s cavern-like internal space, a scale-less dwelling place of our subconscious energies and perceptions, a place that appears to both absorb and reflect all light. In the 30 years since this basket was created, Nagakura has become one of the most esteemed of contemporary bamboo artists. He was awarded the Cotsen Prize in its inaugural year, has exhibited internationally, and was included in the master’s section of Oita Prefecture’s 2012 exhibition, the most significant exhibition of bamboo art in over a decade.
Though Nagakura has not signed his work for several decades, this piece is signed ‘Naga’ in stylized katakana.
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