Yokota Hōsai   (1899 – 1975)
Also known as Yokota Minesai

Miyama Sasa Basket—Flower tsubo
c. 1950
28.5 x 26.5 x 14.5 cm
Box signed and sealed by Yokota Hōsai
Sealed wrapping cloth
This striking basket is composed of three sets of parallel and perpendicular lengths of madake bamboo arranged into a 12-sided polygon. The lengths comprising the front and sides simply overlay each other at the base and are cross-stitched with rattan at the edge of each of the faces; cross-stitching also frames the shoulder and secures the rim. With no plaiting and its joinery so artfully embedded in the seams of the structure, the basket appears to be composed of floating lines. Nodes distributed across the faces and the warm color temper the distinct geometric form. The basket can be displayed resting on its base or hung by a loop on its back.

Yokota Hōsai was a student of the incomparable Iizuka Rokansai, an exacting mentor who taught by demonstration, not explanation. Hosai shares his master’s brilliant ability to balance classical and strikingly novel techniques and forms, and his work was accepted into more than two dozen national exhibitions throughout the middle of the 20th century. He also traveled abroad and engaged with European modernism, as is evident in this rare work.

We have seen a single other basket by Hōsai in this 'Bauhaus' style, and indeed both baskets appear as architectural line drawings executed in bamboo. Bamboo artists regard such floating straight lines with admiration; they are exceedingly difficult to accomplish and, in a basket of such structural clarity and integrity, signal an artist of uncommon aesthetic and technical accomplishment.
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