Antique Asian Works of Art from Ancient East
Comical Japanese Mingei Wood Censer, Edo/Meiji

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Folk Art: Pre 1900: item # 769381

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Comical Japanese Mingei Wood Censer, Edo/Meiji
DESCRIPTION: A very special Japanese wood censer, carved in the form of a comical shi shi or foo dog, standing upright on four straight legs with knobby toes, and ending in a round hollowed body. The shi shi’s face has a priceless comical expression with pink lips and protruding tongue around an open, grinning mouth, and is attached to the body by a wooden hinge and can be positioned open or closed. When closed, the smoke from the burning incense wafts through his pierced eyes and mouth. This wood sculpture is so captivating that it makes you happy just to look at it! In excellent condition, this mingei piece dates from the mid 19th C., late Edo to Meiji Period. DIMENSIONS: 14 ½” high with head raised (36.8 cm) x 7 ¼” diameter (18.5 cm).

Mingei is a word meaning "arts of the people." It was coined by Dr. Soetsu Yanagi, through combining the Japanese words for all people (min) and art (gei). His keen eye observed that many useful, pre-industrial articles made by unknown craftsmen were of a beauty seldom equaled by artists of modern societies. This art shares a direct simplicity and reflects a joy in making, by hand, useful objects that are satisfying to the human spirit. Mingei items most often were made first and foremost for function rather than for rare or special occasions, making their survival up until now remarkable.

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