Nakaiwa Koji (b. 1973)
Flowing water basket
42.5 x 28 x 5 cm
Box signed and sealed by Nakaiwa Koji
Sealed wrapping cloth
Nakaiwa employed his great skill in nami ajiro-ami plaiting in order to evoke the narrowing of the Gokase River as it flows into the Takachiho gorge. The effect of narrowing is accomplished by gradually changing the widths of the two-colored plaited lengths that create the undulating pattern. The underside layer is dyed deep brown, with outer portions plaited in nami ajiro-ami, while the base is plaited in a diagonal hana ajiro-ami. The two layers are joined at the foot and at the basket's distinctive rim, tied with rattan in a manner reminiscent of a serpent's spine, a technique developed by Nakaiwa’s mentor Watanabe Shōchikusai II.
Nakaiwa Koji entered the Beppu Vocational Arts Training Center to study bamboo directly after finishing high school. He gained his certificate and then apprenticed for five years under Watanabe Shōchikusai II, whose portrait is given in Robert T. Coffland’s Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Arts (Art Media Resources and Tai Gallery, 1999). Though he does not enter competitions any longer, Nakaiwa's youthful, experimental work was selected for numerous competitions in Kyushu and nationally, and he won several esteemed prizes.